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Politics

After Election Embarrassment, Allison Tant Won't Return As FDP Party Chair

November 11, 2016 - 4:00pm
Allison Tant
Allison Tant

After a huge loss Election Night, Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant is calling it quits and will not seek reelection for another term. 

Tant sent an email Friday to statewide Democrats announcing her decision to forego another term and leave the door open for a new face to lead the party.

“It has truly been a privilege and an honor to serve as your chair and I wanted you to hear from me first that I’ve decided to not seek re-election in January,” Tant wrote. “I will use the remainder of my term to ensure that the next chair is able to hit the ground running on Day 1 with as smooth of a transition as possible.”

Tant told members not to give up hope and to continue working towards progress.

"Let’s keep up the fight and do all we can to move the state and country we love forward together,” she wrote.

Tant has held the title since 2013, when she won the position over Alan Clendenin. 

Expectations were high for Tant, but the last three years have been brutal and Dems have failed to make their mark. In 2014, they failed to elect former Gov. Charlie Crist in his second run for the governor’s office, and this year Democrats experienced a humiliating defeat when both presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senate challenger Patrick Murphy lost their respective races. 

Republicans continued to hold onto the majority, both nationally and statewide, where many Senate district lines were redrawn to favor Democrats. Still, the only truly significant victors in 2016 was Charlie Crist, a party-flopped who beat incumbent U.S. Rep. David Jolly in a district favored to Democrats, and Stephanie Murphy who upended long-time incumbent John Mica in Central Florida.

Democrats are now being forced to examine what errors they made over the last few years and some say Tant stepping down is one of the only ways they will ever progress.

“That’s the best decision she’s made since she’s been party chair and that’s the first positive direction the FDP has made,” said Democratic African American Women's Caucus chair Leslie Wimes. 

Wimes accused Tant of being wholly out of touch with much of the state, opting instead to stay in Tallahassee and call the shots hundreds of miles away from where the core base of Democrats is located.

“I think she’s in a bubble in Tallahassee,” Wimes explained. “I don’t think [she] was in tune with the Democratic base, namely African Americans.”

Many of the candidates the FDP has propped up in recent years have been “recovering Republicans” who have recently switched parties. Both Crist and Murphy, the FDP’s golden boys of the 2016 cycle, were part of the GOP just five years ago.

That, Wimes said, was a big mistake.

“She was trying to turn Democrats into Republicans and tried to take the party into a conservative position and recycle Republicans,” she said. “Then what she did was, she didn’t want to compete for seats and she didn’t reach out to the base.”

Republican Party of Florida chairman Blaise Ingoglia told Sunshine State News it was high time for a change at the FDP.

"Coming off a historic loss must be difficult; however, the fact of the matter is the FDP needs new leadership and better organization," he said. "Although we did not agree on many things, I respected Allison Tant's tenacity and wish her the best on her future endeavors."  

Rumors have begun circulating about who will replace Tant in January. 

Clendenin, a Democratic National Committee chairman, is rumored to be pondering a second go at the party's top spot.

Crist’s former running mate and failed congressional candidate Annette Taddeo has apparently been making calls among Dems to float her name for the position. Taddeo has been largely unsuccessful in virtually any capacity of her political career.

“That’s the worst thing they can do,” Wimes said. “One step forward does not garner five steps back.”

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, is also among the list of possible contenders.

 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

 

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

 

Comments

good riddance

We could use somebody like Leslie, or a Pafford, a Susannah Randolph, no more retreads.

I think the FDP office needs a complete overhaul with new leadership in all positions.

I could not agree more.

"TANT CAN'T" but it's not entirely her fault... She didn't have much to work with in the way of weak choices, and outright bad choices: the likes of "Charlie the Tuna" Crist and "Paddy-boy" Murphy and their ilk didn't inspire much confidence in the poor available choices rousted to the forefront as candidates by overly confident Democrats who didn't perceive or feel the "winds of change" blowing right in their faces...

While it may not be her fault that Murphy or Clinton lost, she was a major part of the establishment who stood against better candidates in the primaries and also allowed for ALL down ballot candidates to be ignored, even those the establishment claimed to be supporting. We lost way too many seats in Florida because of Tant's so-called leadership, as well as the state chair of the democratic women's club. They step in, cause a divide, refuse to organize a promising effort, stand against and work against progressive candidates, and then put all of their support behind fake democrats like Debbie Wasserman Shultz. We should have had candidates on our ballots worth showing up for and should have ran a strong get out the vote effort, like Obama's campaign did. Instead, Tant blindly supported candidates that were not in line with democratic values and shoved those candidates down our throats. Lastly, was Tant allowed to happen at the Democratic Women's Clubs and County Democratic Executive Committees forced some amazing people out of the party, chased many others out, and disenfranchised many more. When presented with the issues, she ignored them or put out statements with false apologies, never following through with changing things so those issues would discontinue. Real leaders own up to the problem, offer a solution, and then implement that solution or at least attempt to. Tant does not have the qualities of a leader.

..And let's not forget Henry Crespo, President of the Democratic Black Caucus and his officers and his divisive implementations to disenfranchise the Black folk and the vote. Many efforts were made and voiced concerns to the FDP but "fell on deaf ears".

With exception of the officer positions of secretary and treasurer of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. All others are incompetent and very divisive.

To replace Allison with Annette would be as Lesley said a big step back...worse she's a three-time loser...and she failed miserably as Dade Co. Chair...until the Dem's figure out that the party must be "centrist" they're going to continue to be the majority party...there's lots that can be done but no one is willing to listen to those of us that are conservative Dem's...we helped to make Rick Scott the Governor and until the party understands that they can't afford to lose the Silent Majority while working to keep the base, all is lost for now...Gwen Graham is the best hope and for her to be successful, the party needs to do what Adam Smith recommended - clear the field for her...that doesn't mean that I believe she will win, but I believe she is the best chance the Dem's have to take on the GOP juggernaut

Totally agreed with you Barney !!!

Since the Dems have no idea on what they're doing, wouldn't this be a great opportunity for Leslie Times to become The Florida Democratic Chair? GO TRUMP!!

This us all about identifying, recruiting abd training new candidates. And having a bench. Anyone who is able to run this business must be paid for it. Gone are the days of relying on low paid "volunteers"

Make a director of field and communications FDP Chair. Pay well the best organizers FDP and DNC or you're done.

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