In Democratic dust-up, West Palm Beach’s Mark Pafford may end up House Dem. leader

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 Via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

Florida Democrats eager to show a unified front in the campaign to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott, must first deal with an ugly civil war within the state House caucus that is expected to reach a head Monday. The House’s 44 Democrats have scheduled a rare, closed-door caucus where Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg could be removed as incoming leader. If Rouson, indeed, is overthrown, already mentioned as a possible successor is Rep. Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach. 

The intra-party drama is the latest for out-of-power Florida Democrats in a year marked by a contested struggle for the state party’s top job, the withdrawal of a highly touted candidate for a Cabinet post amid revelations of personal bankruptcies, and the emergence of former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, whose party switch has made him most likely the party’s best bet to take on Scott. Republicans are just enjoying the show. 

Rouson antagonized fellow Democrats last month by creating a campaign fund-raising committee separate from the Florida Democratic Party. State Democratic Chair Allison Tant was kept in the dark about the endeavor. She saw the move as a betrayal and quickly fired two party staffers who assisted Rouson in establishing the committee.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.