Blame Thurman or credit her?
It's the curse/blessing of being in charge: You can take credit for the good, whether or not you had anything to do with it, but you also take blame for the bad, whether or not you had anything to do with it. That's where Karen Thurman sits today, five weeks away from the state party vote on whether to give her a four-year term.
She took the helm of the state party in 2005 as Democrats were reeling from huge losses in 2002 and 2004, and inherited a financial mess that included tax liens for unpaid payroll taxes. Since then, the Florida Democrats have dramatically improved their voter file, more DECs have been organized, they won a presidential election, picked up three congressional seats and a Cabinet seat, re-elected a U.S. senator, and gained 10 state House seats. But they also had a presidential primary debacle and a weak showing in 2008 -- Obama notwithstanding -- and some prominent party leaders are questioning whether she has what it takes to lead the party into the future.
DNC member Jon Ausman's latest missive gives a pretty balanced overview of Florida Democratic performance in recent years and the tough road ahead as the party faces all-important reapportionment:
"In 2008 we spent nearly $9,000,000 on efforts to elect State Senators and State Representatives. We picked up zero (0) State Senate seats and made a net gain of (1) in the State House," Ausman wrote. "This letter is not a critique of the past efforts, it is a call for action for the future. It is a call for us to come together and develop a meaningful plan, significant target list and to prepare for 2010. If we fail to capture either the State Senate or State House (and/or fail to win the 2010 Gubernatorial election) then re-districting before the 2012 election will put Florida Democrats at a serious disadvantage until 2020."