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‘Long shot’ candidate Stacey Patel may enter the FDP chair sweepstakes

Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Stacey Patel may soon join the increasingly crowded field of candidates to select the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

On her Facebook page on Tuesday, Patel issued a statement declaring that she will enter the race next Monday if she can raise $2,500 to fund her campaign; identify at least 250 monthly donors in 2018; and find at least 250 people to pledge 10+ hours of canvassing or phonebanking per month for 2018.

“Our candidacy would be a long shot – but as a chair in a red county that’s increased membership by over 300% this year, knocked the most doors of any DEC in Florida, improved fundraising by focusing on small donors, and won three elections with a whole lot of heart and about $6000 – I’ve learned to believe in the power of US,” Patel declared on Tuesday night.

The Florida Democratic Party is seeking new leadership after now former Chair Stephen Bittel announced last Friday he would be resigning, following a POLITICO Florida report that he had a history of making demeaning remarks toward women.

Palm Beach County Democratic official Terrie Rizzo,  Hillsborough County State Committeewoman Alma Gonzalez  and Monica Russo from the State Employees International Union all announced their candidacies earlier this week.

Russo officially isn’t eligible to run at this time, as party rules require candidates for state party chair to be either a county chair or state committeewoman. However, neither was Bittel when his supporters began talking up his candidacy a year ago. Ultimately the state committeeman in Miami-Dade County resigned his seat, paving the way for Bittel to become a committeeman and become eligible for the FDP position.

Patel, an elected delegate to Bernie Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, was elected party chair for Brevard County last December.

“I believe when we demonstrate integrity, stand up for justice, give real power to the people, and provide training and tools – the people will be inspired to donate, to knock doors, to make calls, and we will win,” Patel told Florida Politics Thursday. “That’s what were doing in Brevard County. And it works.”

The election for party chair is scheduled for Dec.9.

 

 

 

 

Written By

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 mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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