Some initial thoughts about the race to be the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party

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With Alan Clendenin announcing he would pursue the top position in the Florida Democratic Party, the race to be the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party is fully underway.

Current Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith doesn’t plan to seek another term. But soon-to-be former State Representative and recently elected Tax Collector of Orange County Scott Randolph is, along with Clendenin, another front-runner for the position.

Expect this race to be very interesting and filled with the kind of behind-the-scenes maneuvering party leadership fights are known for.

Remember, Clendenin was not too keen on Randolph announcing so early that he was interested in the top spot.

Speaking to Creative Loafing in May, Clendenin, who is both a Democratic National Committeeman and Hillsborough County State Committeeman, said then that it wass way too early to be campaigning for such a position, taking a dig at Randolph.

“I’m not particularly enamored of Representative Randolph making that announcement … because what I believe we really need to be doing within the party is stay focused,” Clendenin said, adding that “there’s going to be a time and a place to vet this out and discuss the future of the party.”

Well that time and place appears to be now.

Scott’s other issue, according to one state committeewoman, is that he is already being perceived as a figurehead rather than a full-time chair. Winning the race for Tax Collector did little to discourage that perception.

According to one north Florida Democrat who has yet to take sides in the scrum, there are several names of other possible contenders floating about, including Alma Gonzalez and Annette Taddeo.

Also, in any debate among Democrats, there is the South Florida vs. The Rest of the State issue that must be settled.

Finally, this wouldn’t be an argument among Democrats if there wasn’t an argument about the rules. Some are questioning why the re-organization meeting is scheduled for January 26. Who does this delay benefit?

If there is anything more interesting than watching Democrats fight Republicans, it’s watching Democrats fight among themselves.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.