Terrie Rizzo to remain head of Palm Beach Democratic Party after leaving top state job

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Rizzo has led the Palm Beach Democrats since 2012, splitting duties while chairing the state party.

Outgoing Florida Democratic Party (FDP) Chair Terrie Rizzo will retain her role leading the Palm Beach County Democratic Party after party members voted Tuesday night to keep her in that role.

Rizzo has led the Palm Beach Democrats since 2012 and has handled dual responsibilities since taking over as FDP chair in 2017. Tuesday night, she secured another term leading the Palm Beach Democrats courtesy of a 160-111 vote.

Earlier this month, Rizzo announced she was stepping down as chair of the statewide party after Democrats’ poor performance in November. Incumbent Democrats lost multiple races for the state Legislature and two congressional seats. President Donald Trump also topped Democratic presidential nominee and now President-elect Joe Biden in the state by just over 3 percentage points.

That performance led many Democrats to call for new leadership at the top. Rizzo obliged, choosing to depart the position and make way for a new state party chair. Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz has courted widespread support in his bid to take over the FDP. Cynthia Moore Chestnut, who leads the Alachua County Democratic Party, and Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida Chair Janelle Christensen have also announced their bids. Nikki Barnes, who has served as a Democratic National Committee member, is also eyeing the job.

Rizzo will return to Palm Beach County, where outgoing President Trump is expected to return once he leaves the White House in January.

Rizzo has been involved in Democratic Party politics for 16 years, first volunteering for John Kerry‘s run for President in 2004. Rizzo went on to win a gig as precinct committeewoman before being elected vice chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. She eventually won the chairmanship in 2012.

Alex Berrios will serve as vice chair under Rizzo after Tuesday night’s vote.

Earlier this week, members of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party voted to retain Steve Simeonidis as their chair. Rick Hoye will take over the Broward County Democratic Party, serving as its first-ever Black chairman.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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