Hey, Democrats: Your Party Is Dead Without Fresh, New Candidates





The four-year fight to fairly redistrict Florida ended with a Leon County court ruling a year ago.

What happened since is a stark illustration of why Democrats don’t count anymore in Florida politics.

The cost of the legal skirmishes and the special legislative sessions were estimated at more than $11 million.

A year ago, Democrats thought the cost was worth it. For the first time in a generation, the new districts gave Democrats a real chance to make real gains in the state Senate. Some Ds even predicted their party would win control of the Senate.

It didn’t work out that way. After all, these were Florida Democrats.

When the votes from the 2016 election were counted, Democrats ended up with one more Senate seat. The Ds now have 15 senators compared to the Republicans 25.

All that redistricting effort by Democrats was wasted.

All that money was squandered.

Florida Democrats once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

No surprise, since Florida Democratic Party has been moribund for decades.

Unable to win local elections. Unable to win the all-important off-year statewide elections for governor and the Cabinet.

It isn’t solely because of a feeble grass roots operation, although that’s a problem.

It isn’t really because of a lack of money, although that is surely true.

It isn’t because the Ds have never fashioned a solid message, a reason to vote Democratic.

No, those are not the key reasons Democrats are losing elections after election.


No Candidates


It’s the candidates.

The lousy, boring , inexperienced Democratic candidates.

The Democratic Party has no exciting, experienced candidates to energize statewide voters.

And sadly, the party has no strategy for building a bench of statewide candidates for the future.

The Republicans have scores of experienced candidates, young and old and in between.

It’s been like that for years. It has gotten so bad that the Democrats have been writing off important Cabinet races that they have no chance of winning.

An example is the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, a statewide post with considerable power and patronage, for an open seat in 2010.

The Republicans had Adam Putnam, who although was only 36 at the time had an impressive resume.

A veteran of ten years Congress, Putnam had also served four years in the Florida House. His family owned groves and the name was known in Central Florida and throughout the agriculture community.

The 2010 race was typical of the dismal effort Democrats have made in Florida statewide races. The party dredged up Scott Maddox, a Tallahassee pol who had been sniffing unsuccessfully around statewide office for years.

Putnam beat Maddox by roughly 1 million votes.

When Putnam ran for reelection in 2014, the Democrats didn’t even bother finding a retread like Maddox. The Ds phoned it in.

Holding the Democratic spot on the ballot was the unknown Thad Hamilton from that agricultural center of Florida – Broward County.

Thad, who? See what I mean.

Putnam raised $4.2 million easily. Hamilton raised $43,267.

Putnam won by a million votes…again.

Now Putnam is running for governor. He starts with a base in the multi-million dollars ag industry and has already been touching base with fund raisers in urban centers like Broward.

In March, Putnam is scheduled to be named Honorary Irish Person of the Year at the annual Emerald Society Breakfast, which is one of the premier events of the year for political and courthouse insiders.  It will be Putnam’s introduction to a new group  of urban Broward’s movers and shakers of all political stripes.




Adam Putnam


And the Democrats?

Democrats have again put their gubernatorial hopes in a blast from the past: Gwen Graham, whose biggest attraction appears to be that she is the daughter of the former U. S. Senator and Governor Bob Graham.

Deluded Democrats believe that the Graham name can still carry votes. Do they realize that Bob Graham was last in office in 2005 and last on the ballot in 1992? How many millions became voters since then?



Gwen Graham 



Gwen Graham is also light on experience. A lawyer, Gwen Graham served one-term in Congress from North Florida, but didn’t run again this year because after redistricting it appeared that she would lose.

But the fact that she won in the area surrounding Tallahassee even once has Democrats’ mouths watering. It has been a long time since a white Democrat won anything major north of the Interstate 4 corridor.

Never mentioned is the paper-thin win Graham eked out in that one congressional race. She got 50.4 percent of the vote.

So as we close out the year, Putnam is already getting promises of big money. Meanwhile, Gwen Graham is still mulling over a race, her indecision complicated by her husband’s recent diagnosis of prostate cancer.

My take:

Florida Democrats needs to stop the handwringing about the past. Ds need to stop looking for excuses, whether it is hacked email or anything else. They need to forget about formulating a message and building a ground operation.

Democrats first need candidates. Candidates that can win. Candidates that electrify voters.

The Ds need to start in cities and legislative seats. They need to build a farm team for future statewide races. A farm team of future Democratic candidates from Pensacola to Key West.

Because without new, fresh candidates, nothing else matters.

Without candidates, the Ds will continue down the same road they have been traveling for so long and that road only ends in Palookaville. Without candidates, Florida Democrats will continue to be known by only one name: losers


19 Responses to “Hey, Democrats: Your Party Is Dead Without Fresh, New Candidates”

  1. Ripley J says:

    So true. So true.

  2. really wrong says:

    As an example of their lack of candidates, I live in Hollywood and we had Eleanor Sobel on the ballot for mayor. Thank God she lost!

  3. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    No worries!

    We have Daniel Sohn! He’s our man … former Executive Director, CEO, CFO, oversaw an $8M budget (at age 12).

    Faux substitute teacher, operates a variety of unregistered 501s, fails to file his election papers and gets nailed by the City of Dania Beach.

    Now, he’s up in Palm Beach (apparently Google doesn’t work north of Deerfield) … trying to win a seat on the dirt board.

    Oh, and then there’s that thing about his “daughter getting cancer.”

    Daniel Sohn … he’s our man, our great hope for the Democratic Party.

    Daniel Sohn … only guy I know who can make Ken Evans seem competent.

  4. Floridan says:

    One big problem is that when we elect Democrats to the State Legislature they disappear. They quickly realize that if they hope to get any marginal bills passed, they have to get along with the Republicans, which means not rocking the boat.

    Of course the other problem is that too many Democrats go to Tallahassee, realize they are legislatively impotent and “go native,” becoming lobbyists or spend their time hiking and biking rather than engaging in the seemingly Sisyphean task of standing for something important and carrying the message beyond the State Capitol.

  5. David Singer says:

    Like baseball trades,you can’t judge Re-districting in year one.Some traded baseball players really get going on year 2,3 or 4. Dems are playing long game here.Florida Dems will have their day when minorities become the majority of the state and, that day is coming soon.


    I’ve heard this from Democrats for years. This assumes that minorities will vote as a bloc for Democrats, which wasn’t the case in the most recent election.

    Whatever the future brings, the Democrats still need candidates that energize voters.

  6. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Governor Putnam has a nice ring…

    Rico Petrocelli
    Plantation Councilman 2005-2009

  7. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Everything on this post is 100% but the activists’ leftwing craziness kills the Party with decent candidayes

  8. Talks like a politician says:

    Ain’t we just so very proud that Broward’s own Debbie Wasserman Schultz helped pound several nails in the coffin of the Democrats?

  9. Wow Chaz! says:

    You are still alive! You must be like 80 now. You have certainly lost your edge. The original Festivus pole – brilliant . This year’s one? Barely worth a one line caption. Laughingly dull and trite.

  10. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Speaking of Ken Evans …

    Do you remember when Mitch Ceasar invited (and then uninvited me) to speak before the Broward DEMS? My discussion was going to be — how to use the dark side of the Internet to sway the political process.

    As many know, I’m pretty good at that.

    I was uninvited because Ken Evans rose up in stern opposition to having me before the Plantation gathering.

    Now, after what we just saw with Trump, hate to tell you so …

    Way to go Ken!

  11. you nailed it says:

    @4 Floridian.
    You nailed it for both bobie dubose and kristin jacobs – two of our finest serially electeds.
    not a peep from each since their promotion to Tallahassee
    just putting in the time for the state pension

  12. C Gavin Alford says:

    I’ve got one word, “neofeudalism”.

  13. Disgusted says:

    You forgot the most important Demoncray trait…CORRUPT. That is why they won’t win. But it is OK, you have a chance to redeem yourselves, just like the other half of this country that was championing the biggest liar and thief in US politics. Shrillary. Now is your chance to get what you want without having to steal it foom working people.

  14. Wayne Arnold says:

    I’m a common sense Democrat but the truth sure hurts. We need a personality with ideas that provides a reason statewide to vote for a Democrat. Living in our political past just want cut it anymore. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

  15. Talks like a politician says:

    @ #11

    Kristen Jacobs is still alive???

  16. Say What? says:

    Could it be the message and not the messenger?
    How else to explain our new President –
    I’m a Democrat and I voted for him. It didn’t matter what his party affiliation is, I would have voted for him if he was a democrat
    Could also explain President Obama’s 2 victories.

  17. PINKATOE says:


  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Political consultants dont decide races candidates n voters decide

  19. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Florida Democratic Party Violates Its Own Bylaws To Stifle Fresh, New Candidates & To Roll Out The Red Carpet For A Wealthy Candidate With Zero Experience Instead