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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'My name is Dan, I'm a Democrat'



House minority leader Dan Gelber opened his Capital Tiger Bay Club appearance Thursday in typical Gelber form. Pointing to the name tag on his lapel, he said: "I only put Dan ... so I could say, like the AA meetings, My name is Dan, I’m a Democrat."

Despite the laughs that followed, Gelber can feel some pride these days. He trumpeted the seven-seat net gain Democrats had after the last election. "The last time my party won seven seats in the State House, the current speaker was not alive," Gelber said, giving credit to political director Steve Schale.

Gelber called the election a "market correction," saying Jeb Bush was an effective force who took Florida to the right. With Charlie Crist in the governor's mansion, Gelber said his role has changed considerably. "The last (six) years it was very easy for me. I would wake up every morning and I knew that Gov. Bush was going say something I would hate and I was going to say something he hated. It was a beautiful dance; we knew our steps."

Gelber, of Miami Beach, took some ribbing for his seemingly soft-touch on House Speaker Marco Rubio, but he credited the Miami Republican for giving a greater voice to Democrats. "I intend to pick a fight with the speaker at some point but he's got to give me something to pick a fight about, and he hasn't yet."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:40pm]


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