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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wasserman Schultz recruited Allison Tant for Fla Dem chair



Just chatted with Allison Tant, a top Democratic fundraiser from Tallahassee who emerged this week as a candidate for Florida Democratic Chair. She said U.S. Rep. and Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz phoned her Friday to urge her to run for the post being vacated by Rod Smith, saying she and Sen. Bill Nelson are very enthusiastic about her.

Tant said her priorities as chairwoman would be to strengthen the party's fundraising network and to improve the party's brand in as the voice for middle class Floridians and "to get us aa new governor who's going to pay attention to the values of average Foridians."

Tant, 51, said she is a lifelong avid Democrat who interned for Gov. Bob Graham before becoming a lobbyist. She quit lobbying to focus on a disabled son and has been an advocate for education and disabled Floridians.

She must be elected as chairwoman or state committeewoman of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee to qualify to be elected, and two other candidates - Alan Clendenin of Tampa and Annette Taddeo-Goldstein of Miami-Dade are also running.

Tant may have considerable support from party leaders, but it's causing a backlash in some Democratic circles. The folks at the terrific Political Hurricane blog are fuming that senior party staffers and Democratic consultants supposedly have been working to secure support for Tant among legislators in Tallahassee:

"It is extremely disappointing that party staff, rather than facilitate a smooth election process and start working on candidate recruitment and infrastructure building for 2014 are spending time and effort lobbying elected officials in the chair’s race. This sort of behavior is precisely why the grassroots activists of the party in urbanized central and southeastern Florida are growing further and further afield from the Tallahassee based leadership and staff."

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 12:25pm]


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