Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Juan Cuba says personal reasons are behind his decision to step down after more than two years of leading local Democrats.
“I will remain involved in our local and state politics,” Cuba said in a statement on his resignation. “It’s simply time to prioritize my family, friends, and professional career without the burden of party leadership. It’s also time to give someone else an opportunity to lead.”
Cuba was elected as party chairman in late 2016 after serving as its executive director.
Democrats in the area were able to flip several seats during Cuba’s tenure. U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, state Reps. Javier Fernandez and Cindy Polo, and state Sen. Annette Taddeo all grabbed seats previously held by the GOP.
Taddeo, who previously served as chair of the Miami-Dade Democrats, also released a statement on Cuba’s departure.
“As a past chair, I know the challenges this role entails, and Juan has successfully worked with our community to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and has taken the local party to the next level,” Taddeo said. “He will be missed.”
The party under Cuba was also successful at the local scene, with Eileen Higgins scoring a surprise win to sit on the Miami-Dade County Commission. Higgins argued Cuba’s leadership was integral to her victory.
“Juan’s leadership transformed the local party into one that is mobilized 365 days a year rather than just during presidential elections,” Higgins said.
Cuba also was not afraid of controversy.
He directly challenged plans by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold its 2020 convention inside Miami-Dade. Cuba cited cooperation between Mayor Carlos Gimenez and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.
Cuba argued the county should change its policy or be denied the hosting gig, though Miami remains one of the finalist cities for the convention. A decision by the DNC on the 2020 host is expected early this year.
With Cuba’s resignation, First Vice Chair Maria Elena Lopez will lead the party as acting chair. An election to find Cuba’s permanent replacement will be held at the Miami-Dade Democrats’ next meeting on Feb. 18 in Doral.
“In the last two years, we have won three special elections, taken back two congressional seats, and have done a tremendous amount of infrastructure building, leadership development, and issue work,” Cuba said of his tenure.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.”