New party leadership coming for Republicans in Miami-Dade, Democrats in Palm Beach County

Alex Rizo
Post-Midterm party shakeups are coming in two counties with surprising election results.

Rep. Alex Rizo is the new Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party, charged with sustaining a red wave in the county that proved one for the history books this past election.

Before last month’s Midterms, only Miami’s own Gov. Jeb Bush had ever convinced Miami-Dade County voters to mark their ballot for a Republican Governor. But the Miami-Dade Republican Party, led by Miami-Dade County Commissioner René Garcia, also a former state Senator, oversaw turning the county’s once decidedly blue hue into deep red.

Miami-Dade County voters favored Gov. Ron DeSantis by 11 points, helping propel him to a jaw-dropping 19-point victory statewide.

Rizo, who’s going into his second term as state Representative fresh off his unopposed election, acknowledged his new role on Twitter.

“I am humbled to have been selected to lead (the Miami-Dade Republican Party) as Chairman,” he tweeted. “I and the rest of the elected Board will work together to build on this past election cycle’s success.”

The Republican Party of Miami-Dade used its Twitter account to tweet that Rizo had been elected unanimously. Outgoing Chairman Garcia attributed his party’s Midterm success to the diverse coalition the local organization built and the party’s message is having an impact.

“A lot of them I talked to spoke about the importance of Republican principles and putting family first.” Garcia said.
“Freedom of speech was a big one, and less taxation, responsibility, less regulations with government. And they understood that message. Those groups have traditionally been marginalized or left on the sidelines, and I tried to bring them in under our tents. Even Haitians and Jamaicans in our community, I reached out to them as well.”

Party politics are also about to change in another South Florida county where the Midterms yielded decidedly atypical results. Democrats in Palm Beach County suffered historic losses, and last week Palm Beach Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo announced that today would be her last in her 10-year run as Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chairwoman, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Between 2017 and 2020, she had also been the Chairwoman of the state Democratic Party.

The decision to not seek another term was “one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” Rizzo told the party membership in an email. The missive also said she was following in the footsteps of her hero, Nancy Pelosi, in bowing out of another term.

Palm Beach County Democrats are voting on their leadership Thursday.

In the Palm Beach County Midterms, DeSantis won in Palm Beach County and one incumbent County Commissioner and the Democratic nominee for an open seat both lost to Republicans. Both Republican winners were first-time candidates with little money and little name recognition. Also, an open seat that Democrat Rep. Emily Slosberg-King retired from — considered reliably Democratic territory — will be held by Republican Rep.-elect Peggy Gossett-Seidman.

The night was also stressful for other Democrats in Palm Beach County representing districts that also include Broward County. U.S. Rep-elect Jared Moskowitz and state Sen. Tina Polsky would have both lost if not for Broward County Democrats pushing them to victory.


Florida Politics writer Jesse Scheckner contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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