Ben Pollara: An insider’s view of Day 3 of the DNC


The smartest member of Florida’s delegation on Day 3 of #DemsInPhilly was Alex Sink, by a mile.

She strolled into the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday wearing an elegant white dress and a pair of blue running sneakers. Well done. Her footwear choice left my leather loafers an even more painful choice than they already were.

My former co-finance director for Alex’s gubernatorial campaign, and current executive director of Ruth’s List, Marley Wilkes, could be spotted all over Philly trying to recruit Democratic women to run for office. At one point she tried to convince Alex Heckler his wife, Tiffany, should run for the state Legislature. Alex demurred from the recruitment push, acknowledging Tiffany would be an excellent public servant, but that her election might present ethical challenges for our government relations firm.

I made a discovery today, waiting at the valet circle of the Marriott for Erin to drop off credentials. This is a big revelation, exclusive to Ron Book could be seen dressed casually, in jeans and a T-shirt, NOT the perfectly tailored suit and paisley tie I was always sure he woke up and went to sleep in.

Casual Ronnie’s progeny, Senator-elect Lauren Book has a big morning on Day 4, addressing the Florida delegation breakfast alongside former Attorney General of the U.S., Eric Holder and Congressman Joe Kennedy III. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by predicting Lauren will be significantly better received by her fellow Floridians than another female Jewish elected official from Broward County was earlier this week.

I’m not sure whether it was the cachet of having my photo on page 7A of Wednesday’s USA Today, or the Midas touch of Chris “CK1” Korge* but I finally got into the infamous Suite 1415 Wednesday night (i.e., “The Hillary Suite”). And, in this case, the grass was indeed greener on the other side. In addition to an open bar and a generous buffet that included both hot dogs and Hostess Tasty Cakes, this was a room that contained Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; his father-in-law, Central Florida political legend Richard Swann; Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont; a very hip, fashionable young dude sporting a leather purse in the shape of a small dog (no joke); and — wait for it — MC Hammer!!!! In terms of convention celebrity sightings, folks, you just can’t touch that.

And lastly, for this second-to-last dispatch from PHL, I shed a single, emotion-filled tear when VP Biden took the stage before Tim Kaine, knowing that my hopes of #8MoreYears of Uncle Joe riding shotgun in the Oval were dashed for good.

I don’t know if he’s here or not, but I know, wherever he is, Steve Schale was weeping with me.

*It was 100 percent Korge.

Ben Pollara

Ben Pollara is a Democratic political consultant and a partner at Converge GPS, a Miami-based public affairs firm. He serves as a senior strategist to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and ran the successful campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.


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