BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalJanuary 10, 2023
1 year ago

Florida Democratic Party Chair Abruptly Quits After Getting Destroyed by DeSantis

Casting blame far and wide for the dismal showing of Florida Democrats in November, state Democratic Party chair Manny Diaz resigned Monday.

November saw Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis charge to a 19-point victory over Democrat Charlie Crist as the GOP built a supermajority in the state Legislature and gained ground even in formerly Democratic areas.

The former Miami mayor said in a statement that entrenched obstacles hobbled the party, according to Politico.

“During my tenure, I hoped to address these issues and build a united party without silos, focused exclusively on our purpose -- to elect Democrats. Instead, I found obstacles to securing the resources and a long-standing, systemic and deeply entrenched culture resistant to change; one where individual agendas are more important than team; where self-interest dominates and bureaucracies focus on self-preservation,” Diaz wrote.

The Hill noted that the party was in trouble when Diaz took the post, having allowed its employees’ health insurance to lapse in a sign of its shaky financial standing.

But Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz of Florida said the election made the step inevitable.

"I like Manny. But you don’t get to stay after the party loses by 19 points," he tweeted.

But Diaz had a lot to say in his farewell message, little of it kind to state or national party leaders.

“It is impossible to build or ‘rebuild’ an organization without resources. Huge sums of money continue to be outside the control of the FDP. When reflecting on our disappointments during the past 20 years, one must follow the money. Who received the investments? What was the return on these investments?” he wrote, according to Politico.

“Washington continues to believe they are better equipped to determine our campaign strategy, target universe, messaging, staff hiring and firing decisions. People with little, if any, familiarity with Florida hand many of these directives down to us. Once, just once, those of us on the ground, who know our communities, would love to have a say in these decisions,” he wrote.

Some Democrats fired back.

Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando said she built her own voter registration effort because “there is close to no Democratic Party in Florida.”

“I wasn’t going to wait for the party to step up, and I’m glad I didn’t. We -- as individual Democrats -- are the party, and we have to get back to basics and think long-term if we’re going to win this state for everyday people,” she said.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book said the issues the party faces go beyond Diaz.

“While the Florida Democrats seem to be in perpetual rebuilding mode, after a tough series of election cycles, it was time for a change in chair. But to regain what has been lost, the changes cannot being or end there -- and Manny Diaz cannot be used as a scapegoat for what has transpired," Book said.

Diaz called for a party message that resonates will voters across the ideological spectrum.

“Campaigns are about winning and winning requires hard work and resources. No amount of hard work or resources can overcome a bad message, a message that fails to connect with people where they are. The point of messaging is to win votes. You do that by not prompting ideological polarization,” he wrote.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal

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