Alan Clendenin elected chair of National Dems Southern Caucus - Florida Politics

Alan Clendenin elected chair of National Dems Southern Caucus

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


Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. Hopefully, this gentleman is someone very much aware of the underlying message of Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, with regard to creating a grassroots community based citizens’ network for a people’s peaceful “political revolution.” It is how voters take back control. Few voters wish to be controlled by political parties at the present time. It may be “time” for the political parties to follow the voters.

    Change must literally come from the people, themselves, rather than the “political class” now in control of both major political parties at the behest of the web of corporate and industry “owners.” This corrupt element of the 1% mega-rich fancy themselves as the “masters of the universe” due to their great wealth, giving them great power over the rest of us. Vast sums of money can buy “control”.

    One person, one vote magnified by a multitude of votes collectively cast to support good legislation and good honest candidates for public office is the best way to “break” the hold of money over our country’s political arena. We have the votes and do not need the money; if we network and choose our issues and candidates wisely.

    Key to resuming control of who we elect and the laws we pass and under which we shall live, state by state, is the fabled grassroots path to true participatory democracy.

    In states like Florida, citizens can propose constitutional amendment ballot initiatives that we place on the election ballot to vote upon, whether to approve or not. We follow this step by electing people to public office who agree with the majority of voters, and are not beholden to party or corrupt political donors.

    One issue that Senator Bernie Sanders raised was the end of the federal prohibition of “marijuana” (cannabis/hemp plants), thereby allowing state voters to decide themselves whether to legalize cannabis where they live.

    In Florida, there have been several ballot initiatives to legalize cannabis over the years, and on the second try, we did pass a medical marijuana law which was approved in 2016 by over 71% of all Florida voters. Current polls repeatedly display the up-tick of state and national voters, now up past 61%, who will vote to approve of complete legalization of cannabis.

    This has been Bernie’s message, both when he campaigned during the 2016 Presidential primary as well as the many years before this election, organizing U.S. House Representatives and now, members of the U.S. Senate — to focus on mutually agreed upon resolutions to national issues impacting the American people and organize active voter support.

    Combined with the ongoing work Senator Bernie Sanders has performed on the national scene, a path is clearly being exposed and made available to the average citizen to actually take “control” of our elections — most importantly, creating the laws under which we wish to live as well as who we chose on the grassroots level to elect to public office to change the political process.

    Most voters now agree that politics is now poisoned by excessive corrupt campaign cash and secret slush funds that upend the possibility of fair, impartial elections producing the quality of the people we truly need on all levels of our government — local, state and federal.

    Many voters are also connecting the line of historical dots that connect famous mega-wealthy people who have manipulated the American people to support a fake “drug war” in order to create situations whereas cannabis users in Florida are convicted as felons, who lose their right to vote for life. The lies and acts contrived to create a class of felons unable to vote, along with the violations of personal privacy impacting an employee’s private life through pre-employment and random drug tests that include cannabis as a means to control the workforce of American voters are beginning to resonate with the working class. To the extent that change can soon be expected, here in Florida and elsewhere around the country.

    A Citizen’s Cannabis Civil Rights Campaign will be one avenue to create significant change in the near future.

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