All five candidates to be the next Chair of the Florida Democratic Party were in Downtown Orlando on Friday night, to meet with Democrats from all over Central Florida and to enjoy a beer and rally with attendees with just over a week to go until the elections.
Alan Clendenin, Stephen Bittel, Leah Carius, Lisa King, and Dwight Bullard were all in attendance and had a chance to explain their platforms to the group both one on one and in a group during a parade of candidates. All of them promoted their personal experience working for the Democratic Party and their vision to break the losing stretch they’ve been on for the past two elections cycles and three out of the last 4 election nights.
All of the candidates were cordial and positive during their remarks, there was one Leah Carius supporter who held up a chalkboard that read “Our Party is not for Sale” with “Neverbittel” written beneath it. There has been controversies regarding the paths some of the candidates have taken at their local Democratic Executive Committees to become eligible to run for Chair.
A straw poll was taken after the program but the results are to be released at a later date. The election takes place January 14th. Incumbent Allison Tant has announced she is not seeking reelection.
The event was hosted by Orange County Democratic Committee State Committeeman Doug Head and Committeewoman Lorraine Tuliano on the “First Friday” meet-up normally held at Head’s home. The event drew over 100 Democrats from half a dozen counties to the venue downtown. Notable elected officials attending included Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla, Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh, Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill and Orange County Soil and Water Supervisor Eric Rollings.
“Four years ago, alot of us didn’t know there were election going on and now we’ve got one hundred-plus people here involved and listening.” said Tuliano “They want a say and it shows how much we care about who represents us.”