Not Me, Us. Florida, a progressive coalition of grassroots activists that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign, is endorsing Ione Townsend to be the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party.
Townsend, the Hillsborough County Democratic chair, is in a battle with former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Orange County Democratic Chair Wes Hodge, Alachua County Democratic Chair Cynthia Moore Chestnut, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida Chair Janelle Christensen, and Nikki Barnes, a former member of the Democratic National Committee representing Florida.
The election is Saturday to replace outgoing chair Terrie Rizzo.
The group also endorsed State Committeeman Evans Smith of Volusia County in the election for first vice chair of the state party.
The group boasted of election muscle in the upcoming Florida Democratic Party elections. In a news release, Not Me, Us. Florida contended that it has recruited or backed more than 1,000 Democrats to become precinct captains and then they backed the elections of more than a dozen state committeewomen and state committeemen.
“This diverse, progressive bloc of voters holds at least one-third of the votes needed to secure the FDP Chair election,” the news release stated.
Not Me, Us. Florida lauded Townsend for leading “a team of volunteers who grew the local party, supported candidates, and successfully turned the Tampa Bay county into a Democratic stronghold. Together, they flipped the majority in the Temple Terrace City Council and won super-majorities on the School Board and County Commission.
“Her respect for a strong ground game to register and canvass voters has helped Hillsborough exceed goals for Democratic participation in elections. A focus on field organizing and operational transparency are the only way to reverse the downward trend seen by Florida Democrats in recent elections. Fundraising has been problematic for the Florida Democratic Party in recent years,” the news release continued. “Ione Townsend has demonstrated she can inspire donors to give without compromising our core values.”