Manny Diaz, the Democratic Party chair in Florida, has announced his immediate resignation amid disastrous party results in the midterms and growing calls to step down.
Diaz’s departure follows the DNC’s worst showing in an election, “ever,” according to a report in Politico. Notably, Gov. Ron DeSantis won his bid for reelection by 19 points.
The midterms yielded several unexpected Democratic losses, including seats in reliable blue Miami-Dade County. The flipped seats resulted in a GOP supermajority controlling the Legislature in 2023.
In his exit statement, Diaz faulted funding issues and party infighting for the party’s poor performance in November. The Florida Phoenix reported Diaz saying:
“During my tenure, I hoped to address these issues, and build a united party without silos, focused exclusively on our purpose- to elect Democrats. Instead, I found obstacles to securing the resources and a long-standing, systemic and deeply entrenched culture resistant to change; one where individual agendas are more important than team; where self-interest dominates and bureaucracies focus on self-preservation.”
Diaz blasted national Democratic organizations that raised millions from Florida donors but did not allocate funds for work in his state:
“It is impossible to build or ‘rebuild’ an organization without resources,” Diaz wrote. “Huge sums of money continue to be outside the control of the FDP. When reflecting on our disappointments during the past 20 years, one must follow the money. Who received the investments? What was the return on these investments?”
Diaz also noted party infighting and tension between state and national leaders:
“Washington continues to believe they are better equipped to determine our campaign strategy, target universe, messaging, staff hiring and firing decisions,” he wrote. “People with little, if any, familiarity with Florida hand many of these directives down to us. Once, just once, those of us on the ground, who know our communities, would love to have a say in these decisions.”
Diaz initially signaled he would not resign and planned to serve the remaining two years in his term. That led to progressive and moderate Democrats threatening a “vote of no confidence.”
Anticipating he would not survive the vote, Diaz resigned.
The unity of the party is in question, and no clear leader to replace Diaz has been identified.
Former State Rep. Sean Shaw, identified as a possible replacement for Diaz, said: “I do not care about the ideology of the next chair. I care about their ability to register voters and run the actual operation of the Florida Democratic Party competently. Everything else comes after that.”
Other possible contenders include former state Sen. Annette Taddeo. Taddeo wrote on Twitter:
“I am humbled by the overwhelming number of calls I’ve received in recent days, and as I always do, I will consult with leaders across the state, especially our grassroots, as I consider any future opportunities.”
Jeremy Matlow, a progressive city commissioner in Tallahassee, has also announced his bid to run to fill the seat.
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