Plagued by poor fundraising and lackluster candidates, Florida Democrats continue to face obstacles to winning the governorship in 2018. Their latest setback comes with Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel and Florida Democratic Party President Sally Boynton Brown both resigning their positions. Bittel resigned last week after widespread reports of inappropriate conduct toward young women in his office. POLITICO reports that he had given Democrats a “a sense of momentum” and the party’s gubernatorial candidates will “will feel the sting” of his resignation. Brown also announced her resignation, after reports surfaced that she had been “enabling” Bittel’s inappropriate behavior. This growing scandals further complicates Florida Democrats’ ability to compete, and leaves the Democratic infrastructure in the state in disarray.
“Even amid the flood of sexual misconduct revelations that have rocked state capitals across the country, the nation’s biggest swing state has lived up to its reputation for political drama and excess over the past month, with major implications for next year’s contested U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections — and the next presidential race…
The biggest shock to the system unfolded Friday when the state’s Democratic Party chair, Stephen Bittel, quit after POLITICO Florida reported numerous women and men complained he created an uncomfortable work environment for young women, from leering at them and trying to persuade them to fly on his private plane to using a stress-relieving squeeze-ball shaped like a naked breast…
With Bittel at the helm, the state party worked closely with grassroots groups and unions and recently won two crucial standalone elections — a special state Senate race in the Miami area and a mayoral race in St. Petersburg — that gave the long beleaguered party a sense of momentum, even though Bittel fell well short of raising the big sums he promised.
Now there’s a vacuum — and Democrats aren’t sure who can replace Bittel…
With Bittel gone, [Nelson] Diaz said, it’s unclear how the Democrats can find a chair who can contribute his own cash, get others to do the same and work closely with campaigns and outside groups. Diaz did note that Nelson will be able to rely more on national Democrats to fill the holes of the state party but the statewide candidates for governor, attorney general, state chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner will feel the sting from the loss of Bittel’s financial and organizational expertise.”
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