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Florida Democrats Select Ex-Miami Mayor As Leader

Manny Diaz smiling in a head shot
Florida International University
Manny Diaz, the former mayor of Miami, was elected chairman of the Florida Democratic Party on Jan. 9, 2021.

Manny Diaz is taking over a state party that lost ground in November's election

Florida Democratic Party leaders on Saturday elected former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz as the state's new party chair.

They are hoping the Cuban American can turn the party's fortune after losing two straight presidential races, six straight gubernatorial defeats and losses of both U.S. Senate seats.

Diaz, who led the city of Miami from 2001 to 2009, got 54% of the vote of party leaders Saturday.

“From the beginning...I promised you we would work together to rebuild a party that is focused on electing Democrats across the state and that work starts today, Diaz said in a statement from the Democratic Party. "Together, we will organize, mobilize, and grow our Democratic coalition to get our message out and strengthen our party to ensure Democratic victories this year and beyond. It won’t be easy, but I am committed and honored to be leading this effort.”

He replaces Terrie Rizzo, who had been chair for three years and chose not to run for re-election.

"Chair Manny Diaz is a strong leader who is more than ready to continue building Democratic power across the whole state of Florida, and I look forward to supporting his efforts to turn Florida blue,” Rizzo said.

Diaz is taking over a state party that lost ground in November's election, causing some national political commentators to suggest Florida may no longer be a swing state but instead solidly Republican.

Terry Spencer -- The Associated Press