Democrats Rally Support, Grapple with Problems

Democrats Rally Support, Grapple with Problems

By Ana Ceballos, The News Service of Florida

ORLANDO — Florida Democrats are making plans to win the crucial battleground state in 2020, but during a flurry of forums this weekend, intraparty tensions were often more apparent than enthusiasm.

“We are going to turn into Alabama if we don’t get our act together,” said Sean Shaw, the 2018 Democratic nominee for attorney general who co-chairs the party’s “Path to Power” commission, which convened at the party’s annual Leadership Blue event at a Disney resort.

With the party desperate to beat President Donald Trump in Florida, the commission is making a series of recommendations to address “recurring problems” Democrats see every election cycle in statewide races.

“We lose them close, but we lose them,” Shaw said. “We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect different results.”

Some key problems Florida Democrats want to tackle in the 17 months before the 2020 elections have to do with voter registration, minority voters who feel forgotten by the party and mistrust in the election system after last year’s recounts and revelations about Russian hackers accessing voter data in 2016 in two Florida counties.

“I would like to see the Florida Democratic Party or the ACLU file a case demanding information so that we do have safe elections in the state,” said Patricia Farley, president of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida.

Shaw, who lost the race for attorney general to Republican Ashley Moody, said the party should demand more information about voter data being accessed by Russian hackers because it is “obvious” something is going on.

“We need to know what it is,” the former state House member from Tampa said. “Not just to know what it is, but so we can have confidence in our elections. I think people are losing confidence that the person who is getting the most votes is winning.”

The party’s goal to register and re-engage an additional 1 million voters has been clouded recently as one of its stars, and the leader of the effort, Andrew Gillum, finds himself facing questions about a federal inquiry involving his political committee, which is a key part of the voter-registration drive.

Cynthia Chestnut, who co-chairs the “Path to Power” commission, said the party has committed $2.8 million to the voter-registration effort.

As Democrats work to reel in money for the drive, Gillum admitted the federal inquiry will be a “distraction,” but he said the probe has not slowed down fundraising efforts.

“The good news is, as of a day ago, we brought in an extra $250,000 even after this,” Gillum said to reporters Friday after he told a packed room at the Disney Yacht Club Resort Hotel that he viewed the federal inquiry as a “challenge.”

Gillum, who narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial race to Republican Ron DeSantis, said he has “no clue” what the new federal inquiry is about, adding that his campaign followed the law and campaign-finance reporting requirements.

“I’ll take the arrows. I’ll take the name-calling. I’ll take it all,” he told the crowd, as long as Democrats continue supporting him in the voter-registration drive.

Hours before he said that, the Florida Commission on Ethics approved a $5,000 fine for Gillum after a probe into whether he violated state ethics laws while serving as Tallahassee mayor. The probe involved allegations about Gillum accepting gifts from a Tallahassee lobbyist and undercover FBI agents who were posing as developers as part of a federal investigation into city corruption.

Chestnut said the federal inquiry is “voter suppression of Andrew Gillum,” suggesting that it was a sham “everyone can see through.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s top elected Democrat, brushed off concerns that Gillum’s situation could impact party efforts to register voters.

“One person is not the party,” Fried said. “I think that people are excited and energized to register more Democrats. I think this election showed that when people come out and vote and the right issues are on the ballot, the right issues win.”

She made clear that when it comes to Gillum’s federal probe, she doesn’t “get involved in those issues,” and therefore, does not know the details.

Instead, Fried focused on her momentum and role as Florida’s only statewide elected official. She hosted a “Star Wars”-themed reception on Friday, giving away T-shirts with her face as Princess Leia in a design that mimicked former President Barack Obama’s famed Hope poster.

At her event, the “Star Wars” theme song blasted as she told the crowd that Republicans are scared of the power Democrats could have if they win next year.

“Obviously, the Republicans are scared of us, otherwise they wouldn’t have cared seeing my pretty face on the gas-station pumps,” Fried said, referring to the backlash her agency received from GOP lawmakers for putting her picture on gas-pump inspection decals.

Knowing her opinion “carries a lot of water” in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, Fried said she will endorse in the Democratic primary but is waiting to hear from all the 2020 presidential hopefuls. She also said former Vice President Joe Biden has “a lot of issues in his past” and suggested that a new generation is taking over the party with new ideals and that embracing that shift may be key to winning the White House.

“I think this generation, my generation, is not only taking over the state, it is taking over the party and it is bringing excitement,” the 41-year-old said.

She reiterated the message to the Democrats gathered at the weekend event, urging them to get engaged as much as possible for next year.

“We are here this weekend to reinvigorate ourselves to make sure that we are ready for 2020 because a path to the White House is all the way through Florida, and it starts right here in the grassroots of the Democratic Party,” Fried told the roaring crowd.

13 Responses to "Democrats Rally Support, Grapple with Problems"

  1. They keep shooting a gun with no bullets. In addition they have much more important issues to worry about. Investigations & hearings should be in full bloom by election time. Comey, McCabe, Strok, the Orr’s, Paige, Bsaker and Lynch. A smorgasbord of corruption. Then the antisemitism exhibited by the Democrat party will surly coast them votes. Same with the continued erosion of the African American & Latino vote. Lastly the failure to address the border crisis even lying to the American people “there is no crisis, it s a Trump manufactured crisis..” They actually continued this lie until arrests at the border topped 1000 a day until they relented.. Then the lies over the Mueller report “there is MOUNTAINS of evidence Donald Trump is a Russian agent.”

    Democrat 2020 Platform & Goals:

    -Open Borders.
    -Sanctuary Cities.
    -Elimination of ICE
    -Disarming Americans.
    -Tax increases.
    -Same sex marriage.
    -Voting rights for illegal aliens.
    -Pack the courts with radical liberal judges (Like the 9th circuit)
    -Increase refugee’s from the third world.
    -Illegal aliens allowed to hold public office.
    -Free Abortions for all (Taxpayer funded)
    -The green new deal.
    -End of Electoral College
    -Free Medicare care for all including non citizens (taxpayer funded)
    -Raise Minimum Wage
    -Have adolescents vote
    -!00% free college for all, including non citizens. (tax payer funded)
    -Reparations for every race “harmed” by the white man.
    -Convicts, Terrorists voting.
    -Susie & Bobby using the same restrooms.
    -Late term abortions.
    -Pay check for every person in the US even if they choose not to work.

    *Sources: Straight from the Democrat’s mouths. View speeches on youtube.

  2. “Gillum, who narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial race to Republican Ron DeSantis, said he has “no clue” what the new federal inquiry is about.”

    This is scary. To think that a corrupt politician almost won the governor’s race and he “has no clue” about what he did wrong to be investigated by the FBI. He’s either badly naive or lieing.

  3. Andrew Gillum becomes a convicted felon unable to pay restitution, thereby permanently losing his right to vote.

    1. As long as he has “Nazi Sympathizer” George Soros or “Uncle Tom” Steyer on speed dial, Andrew Guilty will just throw money at all the problems his policies create.

  4. Well, if you were looking for evidence that Florida is looking more and more like Alabama, the comments section at TR is a good place to start.

  5. To ALL Democrats, if you think the Democrat Party is doing a good job, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. All of the Democrats running for president have been in Office for a while and THEY helped to create the Problems we have now and you think giving them MORE POWER is a GOOD thing? YEAH, YOU are the Problem.

  6. No clue equals “guilty”! Liar liar democRAT pants on fire! Buy a clue with SIR John “for the people” Morgan’s money. You can buy a few pointed clues with his and other donors lucre. Florida democRATS are in trouble. No clues, no substance for ideas and tripping over each other with outdated platform and seems to be stuck in traction for turning red back to blue. Good luck democRATS!

  7. So, if the Dem Socialists just took in $2.8M to register more voters (is there a line on their registration form that has to be signed pledging not to vote for Trump?), will Andrew Guilty be giving Morgan his money back?
    Or paying off felons’ court costs?

  8. The Dims actually have only 2 problems:
    1. They are going to lose the all critical 2020 race by a landslide thus returning The House back to adult control.
    2. Who (besides themselves) are the Dims going to blame.
    Really thats it just 2 problems.
    See Dims its really not as complicated as you pretend!!!!

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