Tampa’s Alan Clendenin was unanimously elected chair of the Democratic National Committee Southern Caucus, which consists of 13 southern states.
Clendenin was named to the job Thursday night during the DNC’s fall meeting in Las Vegas.
The caucus chair serves as an advocate for the southern region and the national party and comes with a coveted spot on the DNC’s Executive Committee.
“It really reflects well also on the state of Florida that we’re now represented on the DNC executive committee, and it shows the confidence that the national committee has on Florida, and the importance they place on our state,” Clendenin said Friday morning from his Las Vegas hotel room.
Clendenin has been a DNC Committeeman for several years, and most recently finished second to Stephen Bittel in January’s race for the Florida Democratic Party’s chair. He was also runner-up to the FDP chair job in 2013, losing out to Allison Tant. Clendenin was named vice chair in 2013, where he served on the Association of State Democratic Chairs, forming relationships with other DNC officials that he says helped pave the way for moving to caucus chair.
In Las Vegas, DNC members are learning about new technology tools that are being employed to elect more Democrats in 2018. That emphasis on technology was demonstrated in June, when DNC Chair Tom Perez hired Raffi Krikorian, a former top engineer at Uber’s self-driving car program, as the Party’s next chief technology officer.
Since his election as chair in February, Perez increased funding to all 50 states by 33 percent, doubling down on Howard Dean‘s famed “50 state strategy” employed while leading the DNC over a decade ago.
Clendenin is thrilled Perez is using an aggressive strategy to target down-ballot races.
“For too long they were focused on the top of the ticket and federal races,” Clendenin said. “Tom is committed to getting the DNC involved in races as far down the ballot as school board races.”
Clendenin was a fierce critic of former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and says the Perez strategy is similar to the platform he espoused during both his campaigns for FDP chair.
The 58-year-old Clendenin was able to compete for the FDP chair position earlier this year only after he relocated to a different county, after he lost his bid for reelection as state committeeman in Hillsborough County under disputed circumstances last December.