In another sign of the fight within the Democratic Party over the Tallahassee Mayor’s race, the Leon County Democratic Party is formally endorsing Kristin Dozier, going against the preference of Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz, who is backing incumbent John Dailey.
“Her character and respect for people and her constituents, her colleagues, male and female, and the democratic process make her a prime example of a public servant who will champion the needs of all working people in Tallahassee,” the local party’s steering committee said in a released statement after voting on the endorsement.
“Kristin Dozier represents a brighter future for our environment, our children, and our community and we are very proud to stand by her.”
The statement also cited Dozier’s opposition to a $27 million deal to spend public funds on improvements to Doak Campbell Stadium, which Dailey supported. The project gained numerous detractors who believe the money should be spent elsewhere to improve and diversify the Tallahassee economy, since Florida State University has its own revenue streams to refurbish its stadium.
Diaz’s endorsement of Dailey, who has served as Mayor since 2018, was met on Wednesday with vehement criticism, not just among Leon Democrats but throughout the state.
Thomas Kennedy, a Miami activist and member of the Democratic National Committee, called on Diaz to resign following the Nov. 8 General Election.
The endorsement also put Diaz on the same side as local Republicans, as the Leon GOP has advocated for a vote against Dozier in the General Election.
Dailey received 17,473 votes in the August Primary Election — 148 fewer than Dozier out of more than 38,000 ballots cast. Two other candidates, Mike Ibrahim and Whitfield Leland, finished well behind, sending Dailey and Dozier to a runoff in the General Election.
Local elections in Leon are officially nonpartisan but have had a distinct partisan flavor. In the mayoral race, Dailey has received the backing of developers and the local Chamber of Commerce, traditional allies of the GOP in statewide contests that nonetheless back Democrats in local races in Leon, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-to-1.