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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.
Sincerely,
Allison

 

 

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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