Regrouping Pinellas Democrats host Gulfport fundraiser
The Pinellas County Democratic Party will have a spring fundraiser featuring dancing at the Gulfport Casino on April 9. New Chairman Mark Hanisee, a former party treasurer, recently told the Bay Buzz he's looking to broaden the party's fund-raising power. The party historically falls far behind local Republicans raising money. Among other nuggets:
*He doesn't plan on hiring an executive director, as Hillsborough Democrats did.
* He says "consistency" is key to building the organization, and bringing in experienced people. But he's also hoping to build a bench of possible candidates and party activists, trying to include lawyers, for example. Former School Board member Nina Hayden has been making rounds to clubs, and she's taking a greater role with the party. Hayden is leading the bylaws group, giving her a seat on the executive board.
*Democrats got caught a bit flatfooted after helping President Obama win the White House. While Republicans quickly regrouped, Democrats didn't respond well enough and didn't recognize the challenge. Hence serious losses in November, including two Florida House seats and a County Commission post in Pinellas.
*While he's been allied with divisive former county chairman Ed Helm, Hanisee said he chooses no sides, acknowledging Helm can be a "lightning rod."