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The DNC’s Problem With Warring State Parties Ahead Of 2018

- July 21, 2017

The DNC Has A New Strategy To Give State Parties Funds To Fight Republicans In 2018, But Many Democrat State Parties Are Overcome With Infighting


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • After another abysmal month of fundraising by the DNC, it's clear the problems go far beyond Washington.
  • The DNC has a new plan to make an "unprecedented" investment in state parties to help rebuild the party from the ground up. But, Democrats have multiple state parties that are overcome with partisan infighting.
  • Many state parties that Democrat candidates will rely on for 2018 election bids are more focused on fighting each other than Republicans.
  • Other state parties have ignored the pleas of party officials to get on board with the message from party leaders.

THE DNC HAD ANOTHER BRUTAL MONTH OF FUNDRAISING IN JUNE

The DNC Just Reported Another Poor Fundraising Month, Raising Only $5.5 Million In June Compared To $13.5 Million For The RNC

The DNC Had Another Poor Month Of Fundraising In June And Continues To Hold Debt. "The Democratic National Committee had a poor month of fundraising in June, only bringing in $5.5 million, according to a new campaign finance filing. The DNC ended the month with $7.4 million in the bank, Politico reports. The DNC's fundraising numbers were poor compared to those of the Republican National Committee, which brought in $13.5 million in June and ended the month with $44.7 million cash on hand. The RNC said it was free of debt, while the DNC is $3.3 million in debt." (Jack Heretik, "DNC Lags Behind RNC In June, Brings In $5.5 Million," Washington Free Beacon , 7/21/17)

THE DNC RECENTLY ANNOUNCED IT WILL MAKE AN UNPRECEDENTED INVESTMENT INTO STATE PARTIES

DNC Chair Tom Perez Said The Funding Is Part Of An Effort To Rebuild The Party From The Ground Up

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) Announced That It Will Make An "Unprecedented" Investment To Give Local Democrats Resources Needed To "Grow, Get Out The Vote, And Win Elections. "The Democratic National Committee (DNC) today announced the details of new unprecedented investments along with the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC) to give local Democratic leaders, activists and organizers the resources they need to grow, get out the vote, and win elections." (Press Release, "DNC Announces Unprecedented Investments In State Democratic Parties," Democrats.Org , 7/10/17)

DNC Chairman Tom Perez Said That This Investment Is Part Of An Effort To Focus On Grassroots Organizing And Rebuild The Party From The Ground Up. "'For too long, we poured our resources into races at the top of the ticket instead of organizing at the grass roots and building a deep bench of talent,' Perez said. 'This unprecedented investment in our state parties is the first major step in our effort to get back to basics and rebuild the Democratic Party from the ground up.'" (David Weigel, "DNC Invests Earlier In State Parties, Voter Persuasion," The Washington Post, 7/10/17)

Starting In October 2017 Each State Democratic Party Will Receive $10,000 A Month From The DNC. "Beginning this October, all state parties will receive a monthly $10,000 investment from the DNC through 2018, which is a 33 percent increase over the base funding levels from 2016 and a 100 percent increase over 2015. This is a historic commitment to party building at the grassroots level." (Press Release, "DNC Announces Unprecedented Investments In State Democratic Parties," Democrats.Org , 7/10/17)

The DNC Has Created A $10 Million Dollar State Party Innovation Fund, Under Which State Parties Compete For Grants. "The DNC has made an unprecedented investment in local Democratic organizing by establishing a $10-million State Party Innovation Fund (SPIF), the largest-ever DNC investment in state parties and their organizing efforts. Under the program, state parties will compete for grants to create and support grassroots engagement programs for millennial and youth voters, rural and base constituencies, and other electoral organizing efforts to win elections." (Press Release, "DNC Announces Unprecedented Investments In State Democratic Parties," Democrats.Org , 7/10/17)

OTHER THAN CASH, NATIONAL DEMOCRATS OFFER LITTLE TO STATE PARTIES TO HELP THEM APPEAL TO VOTERS

As They Dole Out Funding To Each State, Party Leaders Cannot Agree On What Their Message To Voters Is

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley Was Unable To Explain His Parties Core Message To Voters Saying, "That Message Is Being Worked On ." "House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley hesitated when asked about his party's core message to voters. 'That message is being worked on,' the New York congressman said in an interview this past week. 'We're doing everything we can to simplify it, but at the same time provide the meat behind it as well. So that's coming together now.'" (Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow, "With 2018 Looming, Democrats Divided On Their Core Message," The Associated Press , 7/17/17)

  • The Admission Comes Eight Months After Democrats Suffered A Crushing Defeat At The Hands Of The Republican Party "In Part" Because They Lacked A Consistent Message. "The admission from the No. 4 House Democrat - that his party lacks a clear, core message even amid Republican disarray - highlights the Democrats' dilemma eight months after President Donald Trump and the GOP dominated last fall's elections, in part, because Democrats lacked a consistent message." (Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow, "With 2018 Looming, Democrats Divided On Their Core Message," The Associated Press , 7/17/17)

Democrats Are Divided, With Some In The Party Arguing For A Shift To The Left, While Others From Working Class Districts Emphasize The Importance Of An Economic Message. "But prescriptions for how the Democrats should move forward varied. Some on the left argued for a sharper progressive message and more pointed attacks on Republicans and Trump, while Democrats from Midwestern and working-class districts emphasized the importance of an economic message that could appeal to working class voters who were drawn to Trump." (Erica Werner, "Angry Dems Turn Against Leaders After House Election Losses," The Associated Press, 6/21/17)

There Are Still "Real Tensions" Within The Party Over What The Right Economic Message Should Be . "But there are real tensions within the Democratic Party about what exactly the right economic message is. Everyone agrees inequality is bad, but how do you solve it? Many coastal, technocratic Democrats support trade. But lawmakers from the Rust Belt do not. The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a top Obama priority, of course, and Clinton felt compelled to flip-flop and come out against it during the primaries." (James Hohmann," The Daily 202: Democrats Angry That Clinton Had No Economic Message," The Washington Post, 11/17/17)

STATE LEVEL DEMOCRATS HAVE TURNED AGAINST EACH OTHER, WEAKENING THEIR POSITIONS EVEN IN DEEP BLUE STATES

Despite Perez's Emphasis On Building Grassroots Support, In Delaware The Democratic Establishment Is Attempting To Block Young Members Of Their Own Party From Holding Office

Longtime Democratic Operative Mat Marshall Decided To Run For The Democratic City Council In Wilmington, Delaware, But Was Disappointed When He Experienced Hostility From Party Leaders . "Mat Marshall is only 26, but he's been involved in Delaware Democratic politics for a decade. A communications assistant for the state Senate Democratic Caucus, he has spent years campaigning for Democrats - 'too many to count' - up and down the ballot. In November, the Wilmington resident decided to bring his passion to the local level and run for the Democratic City Committee seat in his election precinct. Expecting to be welcomed by his party amid post-election talk of Democratic unity, Marshall was disappointed when he experienced hostility from longtime city party leaders." (Christina Jedra, "Civil War Inside Wilmington Politics; Newcomers Challenge Old Guard Of City Democratic Party," The News Journal, 6/11/17)

Marshall And Other Newcomers Said They Were Met With Open Aggression And That Established Party Members Took "Extraordinary And Ethically Questionable" Measures To Keep Them Out. "The new folks say the established party members have taken extraordinary and ethically questionable steps to keep them out. Marshall and three other newcomers were met with open aggression, he said. The longtime ward chairman, Larry Smith, filed a grievance with the state party, alleging their candidacy was invalid because they didn't submit their paperwork properly, Marshall said." (Christina Jedra, "Civil War Inside Wilmington Politics; Newcomers Challenge Old Guard Of City Democratic Party," The News Journal, 6/11/17)

  • The Longtime Ward Chairman, Larry Smith Asked Marshall To Take A Seat In A Precinct He Doesn't Live In In Order To Avoid A Contest. "In a phone conversation, Marshall said Smith asked him not to run against him and to instead take a seat in a precinct in which he doesn't live to avoid a race. 'I said there an opportunity for a win-win rather than a contest,' Smith said. 'That's all it was.'" (Christina Jedra, "Civil War Inside Wilmington Politics; Newcomers Challenge Old Guard Of City Democratic Party," The News Journal, 6/11/17)

Delaware State Democratic Party Chairman John Daniello Sent A Message To All Primary Candidates And Told Them To Question Whether Their Campaigns Are Good For The Party . "State Democratic Party officials are trying to cull the electoral field to avoid bruising primaries by sending letters to all candidates urging them to reconsider their political ambitions. Party chairman John Daniello sent out these letters at the beginning of the month to all primary candidates - including incumbents - telling them to question whether their campaigns would be good for the party." (Jim Dawson, "State Democratic Party Machine Clashes With Newcomers Over Letter," Delaware Public Media , 7/6/16)

Newcomer Matt Meyer, Who Is Running For New Castle County Executive, Said The Letter Is An "Attack Against Fresh Blood" In An Attempt "To Maintain The Status Quo." "Matt Meyer is looking to upset incumbent New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon in September. He interprets the letter as a personal attack against fresh blood. 'There are a lot of statements in that letter that I don't understand where they came from and they're clearly coming a party apparatus that wants to maintain the status quo without going door-to-door, without talking to people and looking at the facts on the ground.'" (Jim Dawson, "State Democratic Party Machine Clashes With Newcomers Over Letter," Delaware Public Media , 7/6/16)

In New York State, Democrats Are At War With One Another

In December 2012, A Group Of Dissident Democrats Joined Forces With Republicans To Prevent The Democratic Party From Controlling The State Senate Despite Having Won A Majority Of Seats. "New York Republicans joined forces with a group of dissident Democrats on Tuesday to form what they called a 'bipartisan governing coalition' to run the State Senate, preventing the Democratic Party from taking control even after it appeared to have won a majority of Senate seats in elections last month." (Thomas Kaplan And Danny Hakim, "Coalition Is To Control State Senate As Dissident Democrats Join With Republicans," The New York Times , 12/4/12)

  • The Deal Allowed Republicans To Gain Control Of The State Senate. "New York Republicans joined forces with a group of dissident Democrats on Tuesday to form what they called a "bipartisan governing coalition" to run the State Senate, preventing the Democratic Party from taking control even after it appeared to have won a majority of Senate seats in elections last month." (Thomas Kaplan And Danny Hakim, "Coalition Is To Control State Senate As Dissident Democrats Join With Republicans," The New York Times , 12/4/12)

In 2017, State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-NY) Urged The Now Eight Member Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) To Rejoin The Party To Provide A Functional Democratic Majority . "State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Wednesday sent letters to the eight members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, urging them to return to the fold. 'We must respect the will of voters and provide our state with the functional Senate Democratic majority they elected time and time again,' the Yonkers Democrat wrote." (Kenneth Lovett, "Democrats Seek Unity With Breakaway Pols To Give The Party Control Of New York State Senate," New York Daily News , 5/24/17)

  • The IDC Argues That Even If They Were To Rejoin The Party Democrats Would Still Not Have Enough Votes To Pass Many Of Its Progressive Priorities. "The IDC has argued that the Dems don't have enough votes on their own - even with 32 members in the chamber - to pass much of its progressive agenda because there are conservative Democrats who oppose, for instance, strengthening the state's abortion laws. The IDC on Monday called on all the chamber's Democrats to sign a pledge to support seven specific progressive legislations, with insiders saying it was designed to show the votes aren't there to pass them." (Kenneth Lovett, "Democrats Seek Unity With Breakaway Pols To Give The Party Control Of New York State Senate," New York Daily News , 5/24/17)

National Democrats Like DNC Vice Chairman Keith Ellison (D-MN) Are Urging IDC Members To Unify With Their Democratic Colleagues. "With the Democratic Party on Tuesday night having again claimed a majority of the state Senate, national Dems are urging warring factions to reconcile to give the party actual control of the chamber. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who is also the Democratic National Committee deputy chairman, and other national progressive leaders called for the mainline state Senate Democrats and nine breakaway Dems aligned with the GOP to unify." (Kenneth Lovett, "Democrats Seek Unity With Breakaway Pols To Give The Party Control Of New York State Senate," New York Daily News , 5/24/17)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NY) And Governor Andrew Cuomo Have Been Engaged In A Long Running "Uniquely Personal, Bitter, And Public" Feud That Led To De Blasio Publicly Denouncing Cuomo In June 2015. "New York City mayors and the state's governors are often at odds, with the mayor trying to exert local prerogatives and the governor holding a higher power over the city's fate. But the feud between Cuomo and de Blasio has been uniquely personal, bitter and public in the 34 months since de Blasio's inauguration in 2014, and has been white hot since de Blasio announced, on June 30, 2015, that he was fed up with his old friend Andrew Mark Cuomo. Appearing on television that day, de Blasio accused the governor of insincerity and vindictiveness. Cuomo appeared to take that as a declaration of war." (Elizabeth Mitchell, "How A Friendly, Airtight Relationship Between The Democratic Heavyweights Turned Ugly. Is It Beyond Repair?," The New York Daily News , 10/29/16)

De Blasio And Cuomo Turned A March 2017 Bomb Scare Into The Latest Round Of Their "Endless" Political Feud. "Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo turned a Brooklyn bomb scare Thursday into the latest round of their endless feud - with the governor beating his rival to the address and vowing state cops would crack the case.'" (Georgett Roberts, Kirstan Conley And Max Jaeger, "Cuomo And De Blasio Turn Bomb Scare Into Latest Round Of Feud," The New York Daily News , 3/9/17)

De Blasio And Cuomo Even "Squabbled" Over The Fate Of A Deer Captured In Harlem In Late 2016. "After being hit with a tranquilizer dart and captured at a Harlem housing project early Thursday, the deer was given a second shot of sedative while de Blasio and Cuomo squabbled over the city's plans to euthanize it, a high-ranking police source said Sunday. 'They needed it sedated while they discussed what to do and who had the right to the deer,' the source said." (Tina Moore and Bruce Golding, "Deer Loaded Up With Sedatives While De Blasio and Cuomo Bickered," The New York Post , 12/18/16)

In New Jersey, A Battle For The Speakership Resulted In The Resignation Of One Of The Most Successful Democratic Political Operatives On The State Level

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto Closed Ranks After Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-NJ) Announced He Had The Votes To Oust Him As Speaker. "Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is closing ranks and consolidating his power in the fight for control of the lower house of the Legislature. Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) announced Wednesday that he had enough support to oust Prieto from the speakership next year, provided that Democrats win several close races and hold on to their 52-vote majority after the November elections, when all 80 Assembly seats will be on the ballot. (Salvador Rizzo, "Prieto's Revenge: NJ Speaker Asserts Power After Coughlin Endorsements," The Observer , 5/26/17)

Prieto Demoted A Committee Chairman Who Endorsed Coughlin And Took Over The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee Financially. "In a pair of meetings Friday, an on-the-ropes Prieto (D-Hudson) demoted a committee chairman who endorsed Coughlin, and then took over the bank account, payroll and staffing decisions of the Democrats' campaign arm for state Assembly races." (Salvador Rizzo, "Prieto's Revenge: NJ Speaker Asserts Power After Coughlin Endorsements," The Observer , 5/26/17)

Michael Muller, Executive Director Of The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC), Resigned After 15 Years With The Organization Days After Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-NJ) Took Financial Control Of The Group. "The Assembly Democrats' top political operative has resigned his post as head of their campaign arm, taking the organization's entire staff with him, days after Speaker Vincent Prieto took financial control of the group. Michael Muller, executive director of the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC), on Wednesday wrote a letter to embattled Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto resigning after 15 years with the organization." (Matt Friedman, "Assembly Democratic Campaign Chief Quits Amid Leadership Fight," Politico , 5/31/17)

  • Muller Has Previously Run The Agency With A Wide Berth But He "Came Up" Through The South Jersey Democratic Machine, Which Like His Wife Who Is Running For Assembly, Supports Coughlin For The Speakership. "Muller has operated the agency with a wide berth in recent election cycles. But he came up through the South Jersey Democratic machine, which is backing Middlesex County Assemblyman Craig Coughlin to topple Prieto as speaker. Muller's wife, Carol Murphy, is running for Assembly in South Jersey's 7th District and is supporting Coughlin for speaker." (Matt Friedman, "Assembly Democratic Campaign Chief Quits Amid Leadership Fight," Politico , 5/31/17)

Muller Accused Prieto Of Violating "Basic Labor Law Protections" When He Closed Out The Committees Bank Account Knowing It Would Cause The Agency's Six Employees To Miss Their Tuesday Paycheck. "Muller accused Prieto of 'violating basic labor law protections' by closing out the committee's bank account, forcing its staff of six to miss their paychecks on Tuesday. Muller said that was the 'final straw.' 'When you demanded full financial control, I respectfully reminded you on the Friday before a holiday weekend that the staff payroll needed to be run otherwise these individuals would miss their Tuesday paycheck.'" (Matt Friedman, "Assembly Democratic Campaign Chief Quits Amid Leadership Fight," Politico , 5/31/17)

Muller Has Run The DACC Since 2002 Notching Wins In Every Election Cycle During A Time When Democrats Have Largely Lost Seats In Legislative Chambers Across The Country. "Muller and his team have been running the DACC since 2002, notching wins every cycle and helping to increase the Democrats' majority from 48 to 52 Assembly seats in 2015. They have had one of the best records nationwide, especially during the Obama years, when Democrats lost control of 31 state legislative chambers and nearly 1,000 seats." (Salvador Rizzo, "Prieto's Revenge: NJ Speaker Asserts Power After Coughlin Endorsements," The Observer , 5/26/17)

Prieto Also Removed Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-NJ) From His Chairmanship, A Move "Widely Seen" As Retribution. "Prieto also removed Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), a Coughlin backer, from the chairmanship of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee in a move widely seen as retribution." (Salvador Rizzo, "Prieto's Revenge: NJ Speaker Asserts Power After Coughlin Endorsements," The Observer , 5/26/17)

PROGRESSIVES AND NEWCOMERS SEEK TO CAPITALIZE ON GRASSROOTS SUPPORT AND SHAKE UP THEIR STATE PARTIES, BUT THE ESTABLISHMENT WON'T LET GO WITHOUT A FIGHT

The Race For The California Democratic Party Chair Has Turned Into A Bitter Fight Between Progressives And Establishment Democrats

Progressives "Bemoaned" The Election Of "Establishment Favorite" Eric Bauman (D-CA) As State Party Chair. "And many progressives aligned with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders bemoaned the narrow election of an establishment favorite, Eric Bauman, over their preferred candidate in the race for state Democratic Party chair." (David Siders, "California Democrats Plunge Into 'Civil War,'" Politico, 7/10/17)

Progressive Kimberly Ellis (D-CA) Refused To Accept Defeat Following Her Loss To Eric Bauman In The Race For State Party Chair, Claiming Voter Irregularities Corrupted The Election. "Kimberly Ellis, a progressive Bay Area Democrat who tapped into a wellspring of disaffected Bernie Sanders backers, continues to blame her narrow loss on voting irregularities she alleges corrupted the election of Eric Bauman as chairman last month. Bauman accuses Ellis of distorting the truth and being unable to accept defeat, and the war of words has escalated. His influential allies, including powerful labor unions and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, have called on Ellis to concede before she damages a party that now wields almost unprecedented political power in California." (Phil Willon And Seema Mehta, "California Democrats Worry That Infighting Will Distract Party Leaders From Taking On Trump," The Los Angeles Times , 6/8/17)

  • A Resolution Is Not On The Horizon As Ellis Has Refused Any Peace Offering To Drop Her Challenge. "Don't expect to see a similar k umbaya moment in California. The state party elects its vice chairs separately, and Ellis has refused any peace offering to drop her challenge." (Phil Willon And Seema Mehta, "California Democrats Worry That Infighting Will Distract Party Leaders From Taking On Trump," The Los Angeles Times , 6/8/17)
  • Outgoing State Party Chair John Burton, Who Did Not Endorse In The Race For His Successor, Said The Issue Is "Out Of Hand." " Woven through the very public dispute have been allegations of voter fraud and back-room dealing as powerful Democratic leaders pleaded for both sides to find a peaceful resolution. 'It's out of hand,' said former state party Chairman John Burton , who did not endorse in the race for his successor. 'It certainly isn't helpful.'" (Phil Willon And Seema Mehta, "California Democrats Worry That Infighting Will Distract Party Leaders From Taking On Trump," The Los Angeles Times , 6/8/17)

When Speaker Anthony Rendon Shelved A Single Payer Healthcare Bill Progressives Turned On Him, Furious With The Lack Of Progressive Legislation

When Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-CA) Announced He Not Going To Allow A Single-Payer Healthcare Bill Through The House Advocates, Including The California Nurses Association, Staged Protests At The State Capitol. "Most recently, when Rendon announced that he would not allow a single-payer health care bill to advance through California's lower house, tempers boiled over. The California Nurses Association and other single-payer advocates descended on the Capitol, waving signs with Rendon's name printed on a knife buried in the back of the California bear." (David Siders, "California Democrats Plunge Into 'Civil War,'" Politico, 7/10/17)

  • Rendon Received Death Threats After Shelving The Bill And Activists Disrupted A Floor Session Resulting In Heightened Security. "Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon reported receiving death threats after shelving the health care legislation late last month, and security was tightened at the statehouse after activists disrupted a floor session last week." (David Siders, "California Democrats Plunge Into 'Civil War,'" Politico, 7/10/17)

Progressives Were Also Unsuccessful In Calls For A Ban On Hydraulic Fracking, And In Pushing A Debt-Free College Plan. "Progressives this year have continued to press Gov. Jerry Brown's administration, unsuccessfully, for a ban on hydraulic fracturing. Lawmakers proposed a "debt-free" college plan, only to settle for more modest measures to reduce the cost of higher education." (David Siders, "California Democrats Plunge Into 'Civil War,'" Politico, 7/10/17)

Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) Addressed The Public Desire For A Shift To The Left And Said, "You Can Always Go To Far." "Brown, asked about challenges holding to a political center amid fervent activism on the left, told POLITICO, 'Look, you can always go too far. Trump's obviously gone too far in one direction. It's possible to go too far in the other direction.'" (David Siders, "California Democrats Plunge Into 'Civil War,'" Politico, 7/10/17)

INFIGHTING AT THE STATE LEVEL HAS BLED INTO STATES WHERE DEMOCRATS WILL HAVE TO DEFEND CRUCIAL SENATE SEATS IN 2018

The Democratic Party In Florida Is Concerned About Senator Bill Nelson's (D-FL) 2018 Reelection Campaign. "The party is also concerned as Sen. Bill Nelson faces re-election in 2018 and retiring two-term Republican Gov. Rick Scott could be his opponent. Nelson's is one of 25 seats Democrats will be defending in two years while Republicans have just eight Senate seats to defend." (Eric Garcia, "Florida Democrats Prep For Nelson's 2018 Race," Roll Call , 11/14/16)

A Contentious Chair Fight Has Exacerbated The Divide Within The Florida Democratic Party

Slammed By Opponents As A Fat Cat, Major Democratic Fundraiser Stephen Bittel Was Elected To Lead The Florida Democratic Party And Promised To Bring The Fractured Party Together In The Wake Of "Humiliating" Defeats In November . "Bashed as a fat cat by opponents, major Democratic fundraiser Stephen Bittel was elected Saturday to lead the Florida party after it suffered one of its most humiliating defeats in November and entered a period of bitter soul-searching. Bittel, who won with 55 percent of the vote against four other candidates on the first round of balloting, promised to bring the fractured party together." (Marc Caputo, "Bittel Wins Election To Chair Florida Democratic Party," Politico , 1/14/17)

Dr. Mae Christian, Civil Rights Activist And Chair Of The Miami-Dade Democratic Black Caucus, And Bruce Jacobs, Bernie Sanders Delegate, Are Suing The Florida Democratic Party For Violating Party Rules To Make Bittel Chair . "Attorney and Bernie Sanders delegate Bruce Jacobs and Dr. Mae Christian-a civil rights activist who marched at Selma on Bloody Sunday, Congressional Gold Medal recipient, and Chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Black Caucus-have filed a lawsuit against the Florida Democratic Party for violating their own rules so that Bittel could become eligible to run." (Michael Sainato, "Selma Civil Rights Hero Files Lawsuit Against Florida Democratic Party," Observer , 1/11/17)

In Late 2016, Bittel Was Elected To An "Obscure Party Post" That Qualified Him To Run For Party Chair Amidst Accusations Of Backroom Deals And Shouts Of "Shame" From The Crowd. "In a raucous meeting amid shouts of 'shame!' and accusations of back-room deals, Miami-Dade Democrats chose major donor Stephen Bittel for an otherwise obscure party post Tuesday night that he'll use as a springboard to run for state party chair." (Marc Caputo, "Bittel Wins Miami-Dade Post, Sets Up Florida Democratic Party Clash With Clendenin," Politico , 12/20/16)

The Race For The Florida Democratic Party Chair Was A Microcosm Of The Fight Between "Bernie Sanders Progressives" And "Pro-Clinton Partisans" For The Soul Of The Democratic Party. "The race for Florida Democratic Party Chair has emerged as a microcosm of the fight between Bernie Sanders progressives and pro-Clinton partisans for the soul of the Democratic Party. Stephen Bittel, a billionaire donor and close ally of former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is controversially ascending as a frontrunner in the race." (Michael Sainato, "Selma Civil Rights Hero Files Lawsuit Against Florida Democratic Party," Observer , 1/11/17)

The Self-Made Millionaire Bittel Was Criticized For His Wealth And Party Donations, Critics Doubt That He Can Unify The Fractures Between Establishment Figures And Grassroots Activists. "A self-made millionaire developer from Miami, Bittel found that his wealth and donations to the party were seen as a negative by critics like Ernesto Medina, who supported the candidacy of former state Sen. Dwight Bullard. 'I don't think he has the experience of being in poor communities, immigrant communities. He just can't relate to those people,' said Medina, who demurred when asked if he thought Bittel could unify factions in the party between establishment figures and grassroots activists." (Marc Caputo, "Bittel Wins Election To Chair Florida Democratic Party," Politico , 1/14/17)

Bittel And His Supporters Said He Has The Skills To Raise Money And Organize, But That Same Pitch Was Used When Establishment Democrats Plucked His Predecessor Alison Tant Out Of Obscurity And Helped Her To The Chairmanship . "As a longtime donor and private businessman, Bittel and his backers say he has the know-how to both raise money and organize a party. But that pitch was made to Democrats four years ago. when the party establishment plucked Allison Tant out of relative obscurity and helped make her state party chair. She announced her resignation last month days after Donald Trump carried Florida and the White House. Florida Democrats are now in shambles." (Marc Caputo, "Bittel Wins Miami-Dade Post, Sets Up Florida Democratic Party Clash With Clendenin," Politico , 12/20/16)

  • Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant Resigned After "Disastrous" 2016 Election Cycle. "Florida Democratic Party chair Allison Tant resigned Friday after a disastrous election cycle, leaving a list of potential successors that includes party stalwarts and those who have never been a formal part of FDP's infrastructure." (Matt Dixon, "Infighting Begins As State Democrats Seek New Leader," Politico , 11/14/18)

Pennsylvania Democrats Wage War On Each Other

Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack (D-PA) Is On One Side Of A "Civil War" Raging Between Democrats In Northwest Philadelphia "There's a civil war raging between two factions of Democrats in that part of the city. And Stack, who is on one side of that battle, gave up his ward leader seat just 10 weeks before a primary election." (Chris Brennan, "Civil War Among Democrats In The Northeast Could Be Costly," The Philadelphia Inquirer , 3/21/16)

  • Stack Backed Committeeman Mike Kates (D-PA) For The Leadership Of The 58th Ward But After His Victory Attempted To Organize A Recount In Light Of A Feud Over Stack's Old Senate Seat. "Stack backed committeeman Mike Kates for the leadership of the 58th Ward, and Kates won it last month. Now Stack is trying to organize a recall to have the Democratic City Committee remove Kates as ward leader. Stack's old Senate seat is at the heart of his new dispute with Kates." (Chris Brennan, "Civil War Among Democrats In The Northeast Could Be Costly," The Philadelphia Inquirer , 3/21/16)

Due To Democratic Infighting, A Special Election For A Vacant House Seat Left No Democrat On The Ballot Despite The Fact That That 85% Voters In The District Are Registered Democrats. "The constant squabbling among Democrats there now has a new embarrassing cost: yet another in a series of high-profile party messes. The state will hold a special election March 21 in the state House's 197th District, which includes parts of Feltonville, Hunting Park, Glenwood, Fairhill, North Square, and Francisville. As of now, there will be no Democrat on that ballot, even though the party controls 85 percent of the voter registration in the district." (Chris Brennan, "North Philly Feud Costs Democrats A Shot At A State House Seat," The Philadelphia Inquirer , 3/3/17)

 

 

 


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