The House Victory Caucus is putting together a seven-person panel to help strategize and make improvements ahead of the 2022 campaign cycle, which features a gubernatorial contest at the top of the ticket.
House Democratic Leader-designate Ben Diamond announced the effort in a message to fellow members last week.
“In order to systematically review all aspects of recent House Democratic activities, we have organized a committee of former legislators, candidates and operatives to conduct a thorough analysis of all functions of the House Caucus operation,” Diamond wrote.
“This committee will be a team of individuals with experience in Florida politics, come from key regions of the state, and reflect the diversity of our party. The committee will work with HV staff to develop a cycle plan that reflects the best practices of caucus operations from other states and implements the lessons from recent cycles in Florida.”
The panel will include former Reps. Margaret Good and Sean Shaw, former Democratic House candidate Maureen Porras, campaign strategist Maya Brown, Tessa Bay of the Florida Alliance, and House Victory senior advisers Dan Newman and Jena Kingery.
The body will study caucus operations in other states and pull suggestions to turn around Democrats’ recent Florida struggles. The announcement comes as House Victory also announced several new staff hires.
“Each of the last three cycles featured different leaders, staff, and models for building a caucus operation, and there are lessons to learn from each,” Diamond added.
“The work of this review committee will guide our work for fundraising, recruiting, and other projects that will be led by members of our caucus. We all have a role in building a sustainable caucus structure for election cycles to come, and your input and involvement will be crucial to our long-term success as a caucus.”
This isn’t the first “autopsy” effort by state Democrats in light of their recent electoral shortfalls.
In 2018, House Democrats had their best cycle in recent memory, netting five House seats total and flipping seven GOP-held seats. Nevertheless, House Victory parted ways with senior advisers Reggie Cardozo and Janee Murphy, with House Democratic Co-Leaders Bobby DuBose and Evan Jenne wanting to bring their own team ahead of 2020.
Democrats, however, largely underperformed across the state. That was true for House contests as well as in state Senate races and at the congressional level. And though Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump this past November, Trump won Florida.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a likely 2022 gubernatorial contender, then held a pow-wow with fellow Democrats shortly after the Nov. 2020 election to change course for the party as a whole. House Victory looks to be seeking its own shift now as well.
Next year will provide a major test for Democrats as they attempt to unseat Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and eat into the GOP majority in the Legislature. It’s near impossible for Democrats to flip the House in one cycle, but progress in 2022 could help Democrats make inroads and steal some GOP-held seats.
That begins with a more successful ground operation, similar to the efforts by Democrats in Georgia, Florida’s neighbor to the north.