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Stephen Bittel rolls out more endorsements in bid for Miami-Dade Democratic Committeeman

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Stephen Bittel, a favorite of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson as the person who might become the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party, announced he received more endorsements from organization labor in his bid Tuesday for Miami-Dade County committeeman against Dwight Bullard.

Typically, such inside local politics maneuvering wouldn’t garner statewide attention, but the winner in Tuesday night’s Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee vote for committeeman is expected to run for party chair next month.

The Florida Education Association (FEA) and the Florida Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced their support for Bittel Monday, joining other Democrats, like Minnesota Congressman and DNC chair candidate Keith Ellison, in endorsing the Coconut Grove multimillionaire real estate developer.

“I’m proud of the support we’ve received in our campaign to reform the Florida Democratic Party to make it more inclusive and representative of all Florida Democrats,” said Bittel in a statement. “We’ve received the support of South Florida progressives because they understand what’s at stake and they want a Democratic Party leader who isn’t afraid to shake things up to ensure more voices are heard, and more Florida Democrats win elections.”

“Stephen Bittel has a compelling vision for transforming the institution of the Democratic Party into a strategic powerhouse in the service of everyday Floridians who lack health care, living wages and civil rights,” said Monica Russo, President of SEIU Florida State Council.

Russo added: “Bittel has articulated a compelling strategy in this complicated moment when working people face unprecedented attacks. He has the organizing skills along with a broad array of relationships in the community that position him to be able to transform that vision into a reality.”

Russo said the winner in the Miami-Dade County race Tuesday night would likely to go on to run for state party chair; they interviewed both Bittel and Bullard, who served in both houses of the Florida Legislature for the past eight years.

Last month, Bullard lost his bid for re-election to the state Senate.

Nelson said he has been trying to stay out of the discussion regarding who might succeed Allison Tant as state party chair.

As the only statewide elected official, Nelson holds an enormous amount of power among fellow Democrats. But when speaking with FloridaPolitics last week, the Florida senator admitted that Bittle, if elected, would bring a significant amount of professionalism to the chair’s position.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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