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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dems meet to anoint Smith as chairman



Florida Democrats met Saturday morning at a hotel near Walt Disney World to analyze their losses at the polls in 2010 and to formally install former state Sen. Rod Smith as their new chairman.

Plagued by dismal Democratic turnout in the crucial counties of Broward and Palm Beach, the party lost every statewide race to Republicans, lost four seats in Congress, five in the state House and two in the state Senate. This all happened despite the party enjoying its most successful fund-raising cycle ever. But as the party's executive director, Scott Arceneaux, said in a review of the November shellacking, "Republicans did an excellent job of nationalizing this election."

Smith, 60, a former state senator and state attorney, was Alex Sink's running mate in the race for governor narrowly won by Republican Rick Scott. Smith also ran for governor in 2006. He takes control of the party's reins at a time when Republicans are starting to redraw all of the state's Congressional and legislative district lines entering the 2012 presidential election.

[Last modified: Saturday, January 8, 2011 12:35pm]


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