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Florida Democratic Party Has Lost Elections, And Money

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.

It hasn't just lost nearly every recent election for statewide office, it's also drowning in debt. The new state chair outlined his plan to resuscitate the party.

A report released this week shows the Florida Democratic Party has around $60,000 in the bank and more than $800,00 in debt.

And the party can boast only one statewide seat — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

New state party chairman Manny Diaz outlined his plans to revive the party during a webinar Thursday night. The former Miami Mayor says they have to go back to fundamentals.

"This is a business, should be run as a business, and it has to be viable on a sustainable basis, on a year-round basis," he said, "so that we're not scrambling around, trying to raise money, trying to find organizers."

Diaz says he plans to open several full-time regional party offices, particularly in the crucial Interstate 4 corridor — which he says has been ignored by the Democrats.

Diaz says his first priority in making the party more competitive in registering voters year-round.

"We have a tendency to do 80% of the work during the last 20% of an election cycle," he said. "That's when everyone comes in and says, oh, guess what — we have an election. And we have to pull our stuff together."

Diaz also wants to push back hard against Republicans when they level charges they did during the last election, like Joe Biden is a Socialist.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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