Marco Rubio Archives - Page 7 of 213 - Florida Politics

Joe Henderson: Donald Trump ‘saves’ Indiana jobs; Eric Newman asks ‘why not us?’

Eric Newman read news reports of the fight by incoming president Donald Trump to keep the Carrier air conditioning company from moving jobs to Mexico and thought, hey, why not us?

Newman owns the J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Tampa and has been fighting the Food and Drug Administration over regulations that Newman says could put his 121-year-old operation out of business.

So when this lifelong Democrat saw what Trump was doing to save jobs in Indiana, he described himself as “cautiously optimistic.”

“If President Trump is true to his word that overregulation is killing small businesses, we are the poster child for that,” Newman said. “It’s still way too early to tell if he can help us, but I feel better about it now.”

At its peak, Tampa was home to about 150 cigar-making companies, but Newman’s is the last such operation in the city. Other companies folded under increased regulatory pressure by the FDA and health concerns about tobacco use.

But, Newman has always argued that cigars are different from cigarettes and shouldn’t be held in the same category as a cancer risk.

“You go outside an office building, and you’ll see people huddled around smoking cigarettes,” he said. “You don’t see them smoking cigars. It’s not the same thing.”

You can’t blame Newman for feeling his government is out to get him, though. In addition to stringent new FDA rules that restrict the development of new product lines, Newman pointed to an executive order by President Obama that benefited Cuban cigar-makers.

The order allows travelers to bring all the Cuban cigars they want into the United States for personal consumption. Those cigars aren’t subject to the same regulations faced by Newman’s company.

“I have no problem competing with Cuban cigars on an equal footing,” Newman said. “But this exemption by President Obama gives such an advantage to the Cuban worker while screwing the American worker.

“We’re not looking for a handout. But one federal agency says cigars are bad for you, while another federal agency – in this case, the president – says it’s OK to bring in all the Cuban cigars you want. This whole thing with Cuba is just wacky.”

There have been attempts in Congress to address this issue, but despite bipartisan support from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, they haven’t gotten anywhere.

However, as Newman pointed out, “There will be a new sheriff in town.”

The Trump administration likely will mean an overhaul at the FDA and that gives Newman hope that the added fees and testing requirements that he says drives up his cost dramatically will be reduced or eliminated.

“It is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be screw the people.”

Steven Kurlander: Real grassroots transition required: Rebuilding the GOP

Steven Kurlander: Real grassroots transition required: Rebuilding the GOP

So far, if you were to sum up the Donald Trump team transition, it’s pretty disappointing in terms of delivering important changes in how Washington works that the president-elect promised during the campaign.

For the most part, the present transition period is dominated by insiders from the Grand OLD Party, threatening the promise of a freethinking Trump White House and the promised change that America yearns for.

Trump’s victory was rooted in a hope for true change in not only in the way Washington governs, but also in terms of changing the political system to be more responsive and representative of the true majority of American people.

That included remaking and revitalizing a stratified and lethargic Republican Party that not only did everything possible to thwart his candidacy, but has proved incapable of truly connecting with a majority of Americans nationwide.

If one thing is certainly obvious, it’s that President-elect Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election by putting together a truly grassroots populist campaign that won the hearts and minds of disillusioned Americans.

These voters, many of whom had never voted or stopped voting, came to the polls to vote for Trump, or against Hillary.

What defined this Trump swing group? These were the voters that both the Democratic and Republican parties had forsaken or taken for granted over the last two decades.

Trump and his loyal, core staff ran a brilliant guerilla-style campaign, using unorthodox messaging and strategies that reached a 21st-century silent majority.

Nowhere was this more true than in the make-or-break battleground of Florida.

There, they fought with limited financial resources a victorious three front war against both the Democrats and Republican parties as well as the mainstream press, too.

In fact, Florida was ground zero in that regard for Trump, whose team lead by seasoned political operative Karen Giorno and self-funded by the candidate not only knocked out former Florida Governor Jeb Bush before March 15, but leveled Senator Marco Rubio in his home state primary by winning 66 of 67 counties in the GOP primary.

The agile, lean and mean Florida methodology crafted by Giorno became the populist Trump blueprint for victory in November as she was elevated to national coalitions and grassroots operatives, as well as the Director of Women’s Engagement and took the show on the road to North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

It worked, carrying these states for Trump on Nov. 8 and gaining unheard of percentages in Democratic strongholds like Palm Beach County.

“Karen Giorno understood how to win Florida for Mr. Trump and she did just that.  Then she took that playbook to the other battlegrounds states.  She’s a winner,” said former Hialeah Mayor Julio Martinez, who strongly supported Trump.

But after such a brilliant victories in Florida and other states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, the fear of the new Trump coalition has the GOP striking back — and leaving Trump loyalists like Giorno scratching their heads wondering how the RNC is taking credit for a victory they had very little if nothing to do with.

Instead, the GOP that Trump conquered is now getting an undeserved second lease on life.  They are also now rewriting the election narrative to claim sole credit for his win, especially in Florida.

More troubling? you don’t hear anything at all about making changes to the Republican Party.

In order for the GOP to survive, the achievement by Trump’s campaign of fusing the GOP faithful with independents and disenfranchised Democrats must be taken further to move the nation forward with a durable coalition.

In addition to delivering on his campaign promises on trade, immigration and job creation, Trump also must “shake up” the present GOP party apparatus by bringing his original campaign and populist political philosophy into a new, rebuilt populist Republican Party.

More importantly, unless Trump remakes a “Grand New Party” as his own brand of new American political reality, and includes members of his original “Trump” team from the campaign, he will quickly lose the goodwill of those that elected him to office.

What looks right now like a “Bush-league” GOP domination of a Trump Administration certainly won’t result in making American Great Again, much less than ensuring a doomed presidency from the start.


Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly’s Kommentary and writes for He is an attorney and communications specialist living in Monticello, New York.

He can be reached at

Marco Rubio talks Cuba policy and American national interest

Sen. Marco Rubio made the rounds of Sunday morning shows this week, discussing Fidel Castro and the way forward for U.S./Cuba relations.

Rubio, a frequent and fierce critic of the current president’s accommodation toward the Cuban government, has voiced an interest in applying more pressure on Havana in the Trump era. His comments Sunday were consistent with that theme, while advancing an interest in making change conditional on real Democratic reforms.


On Meet the Press, Sen. Rubio said that “as far as the practical day to day affairs … Cuba today is governed the same way it was 48 hours ago.”

Rubio noted that Raul Castro is 85 years old himself.

“He’s not Gorbachev. He’s not a reformer thinking of the interests of Cuba long term.”

Rubio believes that Castro wants to continue protecting his friends and family in positions of power, and posited that Fidel hasn’t been in charge for a decade.

Regarding policy, Rubio urged a holistic “look at all changes” in Cuba policy, examining them in the context of the “national interest of the United States.”

“Banking changes,” for example, should be conditional on “specific changes” in Cuba opening its society.

Rubio noted that Cuban policy contravenes American interests in many ways, citing Cuba “harboring fugitives” such as New Jersey cop killer Joanne Chesimard, and Cuba’s quashing of freedoms of press, expression, and organization.

While Rubio is against the kinds of “unilateral changes” that he sees the Obama administration having committed to, he does see a way forward, making moves toward rapprochement conditional on the kinds of changes that happened in Myanmar.

“Our goal is not to punish. Our goal is to figure out what can we do, through U.S. policy, to … look out for the national interest of the United States … to help create an environment where we are creating the potential for a transition to democratic order in Cuba at some point in the near future.”


On Face the Nation, Rubio hit similar themes, saying that a reformed Cuba policy should be linked to Democratic reforms, including expansion of the “free press,” a commitment to “independent political parties,” and the “kinds of things you find in every country in the western hemisphere besides Cuba and, increasingly, Venezuela.”

“Our #1 obligation is to act in the national interest of the United States of America,” Rubio added, and “democracy” in Cuba is key to that.

“I am not against change,” Rubio said, but he wants there to be reciprocity and a “pathway to democracy” in Cuba.

Rubio expects a “generational leadership change” and a “Democratic transition,” and it won’t be a moment too soon for American interests.

Cuba, said Rubio, is a “source of instability in the region,” with an anti-American government that aids and abets Chinese and Russian intelligence efforts, and “harbors fugitives from American justice,” including people who have committed Medicaid fraud and found refuge in the island nation.


The Hill also offered Rubio’s quotes from Sunday on CNN on President Obama’s “pathetic” statement in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death.

Barack Obama is the president of the most powerful country in the world. And what I called pathetic is not mentioning whatsoever in that statement the reality that there are thousands upon thousands of people who suffered brutally under the Castro regime,” Rubio said.

“He executed people.  He jailed people for 20 to 30 years.  The Florida Straits, there are thousands of people who lost their lives fleeing his dictatorship. And not to acknowledge any of that in the statement, I felt was pathetic, absolutely.”

In Tampa, agreement that Fidel Castro was one of a kind

There was no harsher a critic of the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba than Ralph Fernandez. Yet the Tampa attorney who represented several former political prisoners in Cuba over the past several decades says that nobody ever challenged the U.S. government as the longtime Cuban leader, who died Friday at the age of 90.

“The guy stood up to America like no one could. He represented a shrimp of a country, just a dot on the map, and he was just in our face, and he became the advocate for an entire Third World,” Fernandez said Saturday morning. “We have to acknowledge that he was the most eloquent, articulate speaker of the Spanish language of all time. He was brilliant. He was evil. He was one of a kind.”

But Fernandez also compares Castro to some of the evilest men who ever walked the earth.

“It’s great news, but it’s way late. Now he’s gone off to spend time with his friends: Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Pol Pot and the rest of the gang, if there’s a hell, he should be there for eternity.”

There is no official registry of the number of victims who were killed during Castro’s reign in power, which lasted from 1959 until he stepped down as president in 2006 because of health issues, ceding power to his brother Raul. An analysis performed by put it between 5,000-12,000 executions. Fernandez claims it was 30,000, with another 200,000 imprisoned over the years on human rights violations, and “a third” of the population leaving the island to become exiles.

Al Fox is perhaps the best-known advocate in Tampa for advocating for opening relations with the Cuban government. Since creating the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation in 2001, he’s taken more than 100 trips to the Communist island, and he is fierce in criticizing those who deride Castro’s Cuba as a wasteland for its people.

“He took a country that 70 percent of all the land was owned by foreigners, and he gave it to the people,” Fox said. “And he took a country where only the elite were educated, and only the elite had proper medical care, and today you have a country of 11.5 million, and the people of Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras — they all wish they could live like a Cuban lives, but the perception out there is the complete opposite.”

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been a steadfast critic of the Castro regime, and has refused to join the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa City Council and others who have been calling for a Cuban consulate to be located in Tampa after the breakthrough in diplomatic relations set forth by President Barack Obama in December 2014. In a statement, he said that generations of Cubans have helped build Tampa.

“Many arrived in our City fleeing the totalitarian policies of the Castro government with nothing more that the shirts on their backs and a yearning for freedom,” Buckhorn said. “They have never strayed from the belief that one day Cuba would again be free. The passing of Fidel Castro offers hope that one day the Cuban people will enjoy the benefits of a free and democratic society.”

No Florida lawmaker was more than Marco Rubio, who called Castro an “evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people” and turned Cuba into an “impoverished island prison.”

Although there was cheering in Miami overnight about the news, the mood was more downcast in Havana, according to CNN. Fox says that despite what others say, there are many Cuban people supportive of Castro to this day.

“He is revered in Cuba,” Fox says. “When Saddam Hussein was toppled, the people went dancing in the street, OK? You watch what’s going to happen in Cuba (referring his funeral next week). He was an absolutely revered, but the perception is that he was hated.”

Tampa-area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who after traveling to Cuba in 2013 became the first Florida lawmaker to call for the end of the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Cuban government, said that she fears that Donald Trump will reverse the diplomatic measures that Obama has implemented over the past couple of years.

“Slamming the door shut at this point in time would be disastrous,” she said.” Instead, Fidel Castro’s death should encourage all of us to meet the challenge of better diplomatic relations, economic opportunities for Cubans and Americans, expanded travel, and support for the dignity of the Cuban people.”

On that point, both Fernandez and Fox agree that they do not see Trump reversing much of what Obama has done.

“There will be no wall, Obamacare will not be repealed in toto, and there will be no aggressive positioning in terms of the Cuba situation,” predicts Fernandez. “That genie’s out the bottle,” adds Fox.

Richard Corcoran installed as House speaker promising ‘struggle’ to do right

Richard Corcoran assumed the speakership of the Florida House during its organizational session Tuesday, promising a new era of good government enforced by unprecedentedly stringent ethics rules and controls on lobbyists.

“Good government isn’t a process; it’s a struggle for its leaders to do the right thing,” Corcoran said. “We have to put aside the rhetorical devices and political tricks and look out for the people. We have to govern selflessly and we have to tell the truth.”

The House adopted the new rules without debate.

Before Corcoran’s remarks, the House engaged in traditional organizational session pageantry. In small groups, newly elected members stood in the well of the House and took their oaths of office — 26 of them. Re-elected members then took their feet en masse to reaffirm their own oaths.

There for the occasion were numerous former House members, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a former House speaker. Gov. Rick Scott came up to the Fourth Floor for the occasion. Justice Rick Polston crossed the street from the Florida Supreme Court.

The usual arrays of bouquets were mostly absent from members’ desks — Corcoran had discouraged that practice. But — in another tradition — members’ families crowded into seats lining the chamber and in the gallery overhead. Members wore red or blue roses in their jacket lapels, depending on their political bent.

When it came time to vote for speaker, fellow party members placed both Corcoran’s name and that of Democratic leader Janet Cruz in nomination. But Cruz moved to dispense with a vote and urged Corcoran’s election unanimously, and the House agreed. He ascended to the speaker’s podium, where Polston swore him in as speaker. He will serve through 2018.

Addressing the House, Corcoran said his reform platform is sorely needed, pointing to the “primal scream” from voters on Election Day.

“Somehow, we were all surprised. But we shouldn’t have been,” Corcoran said in prepared remarks. “We talked about this over a year ago at our designation ceremony. What said then, the voters yelled on Election Day — ‘the enemy is us.’ ”

He spoke of an age-old struggle between the governed and those who govern. “We have to govern selflessly, and we have to tell the truth.”

The truth, Corcoran said, is that too much legislation is written by lobbyists, who “see themselves as the power brokers of this process.”

“On the rare occasion we are able to push through the horde of lobbyists and special interests, and do something really, really meaningful, they just regroup. They openly brag about waiting us out, and then they come back — one statute, one exemption, one appropriation at a time, and undo all that we did,” he said.

“We can make this a moment of greatness, and push back and tell the people of this state of Florida that we will fix their broken system, and that we can turn it into something that is true and good and beautiful. “

It begins, Corcoran said, with the “aggressive and transformative” new House rules prohibiting lobbyist favors to lawmakers, including free airplane rides, and extends the ban on lobbying by former House members to six years.

“It all ends, and it all ends today,” he said.

Plus budget rules requiring earmarks to be submitted in bill form, sponsored by a House member, and not as last-minute amendments. Last year, he said, the House identified $2.3 billion in such projects.

The bipartisan rules changes are the “strongest in the nation,” Corcoran said. The people will know “who’s pushing and playing” for such earmarks, he said.

“And for those of you who find this rule to be too burdensome, here’s my message: if you can’t get one single member out of 120 to file your bill; if you can’t withstand just a few weeks of public scrutiny; and if you can’t give detailed information on why that project is worthy, then you don’t deserve taxpayers’ money.”

Corcoran bragged about cutting off “corporate welfare” during the last session and promised more of the same — even at the risk of confrontation internally, with the Senate and with Scott, whose jobs programs emphasizes priming the pump for new and growing businesses.

Corcoran argued for school choice, urging Democratic members to tell the Florida Education Association to withdraw a lawsuit challenging Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program.

“They are literally trying to destroy the lives of 100,000 children. Most of them are minorities and all of them are poor. It flies in the face of common sense and it defies every single study. It’s  downright evil,” Corcoran said.

“I know that’s a strong word,” he continued, but compared the situation to letting children drown for lack of educational opportunity.

He called for Washington to let Florida take the lead on health care reform. “Let us show the rest of the nation — let us show Washington, D.C. — how well we can do,” he said.

He decried what he sees as judges who put “power above principles.”

“We need judges who will respect the Constitution and separation of powers. Who will resist the temptation to turn themselves into some unelected super-legislature. The problem with holding the same office for in essence life, is you start to think that office is far, far, far less important than the person in it — which is why we need 12-year term limits on judges, so we can have a healthy judicial branch.”

“Members, we are only one-half of one legislature in one state. So a lot of people have said to me that this is far, far, far beyond our dreams. But that will not stop us. The special interests will not stop us. The mainstream media will not stop us. Our own party leaders will not stop us. We will fight.”

Finally, Corcoran harkened back to a book he’d loved as a child, the tales of King Arthur.

“I remember being just a little boy, mesmerized by those stories: This idea of a group of knights, working  side by side, none greater than the other, and all willing to die for something greater than themselves. Could leaders really work that way? Could the world really be like that?”

Two House members were excused from the Organization Session: Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, who’s recovering from back surgery; and Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat, whose wife is expecting.

Personnel note: Dave Murzin joins Liberty Partners of Tallahassee as NW Florida director

Former state Rep. Dave Murzin has joined Liberty Partners of Tallahassee as the firm’s Northwest Florida Director.

“We are honored to have Dave join forces with the Liberty Partners team.” said firm owner and President Jennifer Green in a statement. “This strategic partnership gives us the opportunity to continue to work with a longtime friend and colleague in a region of the state where we all have a strong connection.”

A former state legislator and longtime legislative staffer, Murzin has experience in both the public and private sector. Murzin served in the Florida House from 2002 until 2010.

While in the House, Murzin was appointed by former House Speaker Larry Cretul to the Florida Council on Military Base and Mission Support.

He also served on the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council, was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to both the Joint Select Committee on Hurricane Insurance and the Property Tax Reform Committee, was appointed by former House Speaker and current U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to the Joint Property Tax Reform Committee, and served on the Escambia County Utilities Authority Administrative Advisory Committee.

Before serving in the Florida House, he served as a top staffer to Jeff Miller, a former congressman and member of the Florida House, and former House Majority Leader Jerry Maygarden.

“I appreciate the opportunity to join the Liberty Partners team,” said Murzin in a statement. “This team and their clients represent the conservative philosophies and policies that I have supported my entire legislative career. I look forward to working on issues important to the Northwest Florida area and especially my hometown of Pensacola.”

Murzin and his son, Benjamin, live in Pensacola.

Blaise Ingoglia announces he’s running for re-election as Florida GOP chair

Announcing earlier than he intended to do, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said Thursday he will run for re-election to his post next January.

“I was hoping to announce this after Thanksgiving so everyone could spend time with their families and give everyone a much-needed break from politics, but the events of today will not allow me, or us, that luxury,” Ingoglia wrote on his Facebook page. “I want everyone to know that I will indeed be running for a second term as the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.”

The “events of today” Ingoglia was referring to was the announcement earlier Thursday that Sarasota state committeeman Christian Ziegler will challenge Ingoglia for party chair.

In his statement, Ingoglia said when he declared his candidacy for chairman two years ago, he promised “much needed reforms” and delivering the state’s 29 electoral votes to a Republican presidential nominee.

“We not only delivered on our promises, we delivered historic wins for Sen. Marco Rubio, our Congressional delegation, our Florida Legislature, and delivered by winning the State of Florida for the first time since 2004 for now President-elect Donald Trump. I humbly ask for your continued support as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.”

In addition to serving as party chair, Ingoglia was just re-elected to his House District 35 seat in Hernando County, and makes his living as a home builder.  A New York City native, Ingoglia developed a side career as a skilled poker player, and years ago began producing a series of videos and seminars called “Government Gone Wild,” where he decried the rising federal debt.

In January of 2015, he upset incumbent Leslie Dougher in the race for party chair. Dougher was Gov. Rick Scott’s handpicked candidate, and afterwards he took the hundreds of thousands he had raised out of the party’s account and put into his own political committee, “Let’s Get to Work.” Later, Senate President Andy Gardiner followed suit, removing more money and putting it into the Senate Republicans’ fundraising committee.

Nevertheless, speculation that schism would hurt the party in last week’s election proved not to be the case, with Trump defeating Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percent, a seismic achievement in a state both candidates desperately fought to win.

Marco Rubio, Tim Kaine file bill combatting European anti-Semitism

When asked about Sen. Tim Kaine during the presidential campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio never had a negative word. Though Kaine eventually took aim at Rubio on behalf of Patrick Murphy, that clearly was just campaign rhetoric.

On Thursday, Rubio and Kaine came together to introduce an important bill in the United States Senate taking aim at anti-Semitism in Europe.

The bill requires enhanced reporting to Congress in the State Department’s yearly report on religious freedom, and directs the State Department to work with European partners to combat anti-Semitism on the continent.

Each senator offered a statement.

“I am deeply concerned with the recent harassment and violence seen across Europe against Jews in schools and synagogues, as well as certain governments amplifying anti-Semitic messages,” said Rubio. “America must prioritize working with European governments to combat this insidious global phenomenon. This bipartisan legislation will ensure the State Department has the information it needs to assess and understand the challenges so that we might combat European anti-Semitism in all its forms.”‎

“I am alarmed by the steady increase in anti-Semitism we’re witnessing in America and Europe. We must be vigilant in reporting any incidents of anti-Semitism to ensure the safety, security and inalienable rights of Jewish communities,” said Kaine. “This legislation will help the State Department and Europeans work together to combat anti-Semitism and protect religious freedom for Jews and society at large.”

The House version of this bill was introduced by the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combatting Anti-Semitism.

Marco Rubio, Donald Trump find common ground on Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio has spent the last six years maligning Cuba policy from the Barack Obama White House.

He’s not expecting to have to do the same regarding Donald Trump, however.

After a meeting with Cuban dissident Guillermo “Coco” Farinas Tuesday, Rubio issued a statement, noting that “rolling back President Obama’s one-sided concessions to the Castro regime, a key campaign promise shared with President-elect Trump, will be a top priority for me next year.”

“By any objective measure, President Obama’s unilateral policy changes have failed, and they are not in the best interest of the American people or the people of Cuba,” Rubio observed, adding that he intends to fight for support for “civil society and dissidents from Cuba and other countries.”

Much of the campaign of Rubio’s general election challenger, Rep. Patrick Murphy, was designed to draw comparisons between Rubio and Trump. And for his part, Rubio went out of his way to draw differences between himself and the GOP nominee, vowing to act as a “check” on a Trump White House.

With the general election out of the way, however, Rubio is finding that on one of his biggest policy priorities, it’s useful to have an ally in the White House.

Allison Tant won’t return as Florida Democratic Party chair

Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant announced Friday she will not run for another term as party chair in January.

“It has truly been a privilege and an honor to serve as your chair and I wanted you to hear from me first that I’ve decided to not seek re-election in January,” Tant wrote in email to party members. “I will use the remainder of my term to ensure that the next chair is able to hit the ground running on Day 1 with as smooth of a transition as possible.”

The list of possible replacements starts with Alan Clendenin, the 57-year-old State and Democratic National Committeeman from Tampa who came close to becoming the party chair of the Florida Democratic Party in 2013, losing out by 80 votes out of over 1,000 cast to Tant. He currently is vice-chair of the FDP.

Clendenin did not immediately return a call for comment. He lost a bid for school board in Hillsborough County back in August.

Other names being bandied about include Democrats who fell short on the ballot this year like Annette Tadeo, Dwight Bullard, Patrick Murphy, as well as strategist Steve Schale, who went to Twitter to announce in a Shermanesque like statement: “Things I want to do in 2017: Write a Book Things I don’t want to do in 2017: Work for a political party or chair the state version of one

Tant’s decision comes after a very poor night for Florida Democrats on Tuesday, where Hillary Clinton fell short to Donald Trump by a little more than one percentage point in the race for Florida’s 29 electoral votes for president. Democrats were also unsuccessful in retaking the U.S. Senate seat, with Patrick Murphy losing by eight percentage points to incumbent Marco Rubio.

And in state legislative races, the party actually LOST one seat in the state Senate, despite new Democratic-friendly political lines drawn up by the Legislature last year. That resulted after the Florida Supreme Court ruled they had been originally drawn up in violation of the state’s constitution. They now have 15 members in the 40-person body.

Democrats did pick up three seats in the House, and now will have 41 members to the Republicans’ 79.

Some state Democrats also want to know if Scott Arceneaux will stick around. Arceneaux has been the executive director of the FDP since 2009, transcending the Karen Thurman and Rod Smith eras.

Here is Tant’s email in full:

Fellow Democrats,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication and tireless effort on behalf of our party. While this wasn’t the outcome we worked so hard for, we stood for what is best in our country — justice, equality, compassion, and hope.
As Hillary said in her speech, “This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is. It is worth it.”
It has truly been a privilege and an honor to serve as your chair and I wanted you to hear from me first that I’ve decided to not seek re-election in January. I will use the remainder of my term to ensure that the next chair is able to hit the ground running on Day 1 with as smooth of a transition as possible.
Again, thank you for your support and inspiration over the last few years. You worked your hearts out and I couldn’t be more proud. But there is still so much work to be done to protect the progress we’ve made — and we don’t have a minute to waste. It’s on each and every one of us to defend the values we hold dear. Let’s keep up the fight and do all we can to move the state and country we love forward together.
I’ve loved meeting and working with you all and I know we will rise from this defeat to build a brighter future.



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