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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

When white Democrats win seats designed for minorities



From today's print version of The Buzz:

Here's a trend Florida Democratic leaders prefer not to talk about: Wealthy, white Democrats beating out minority Democratic candidates in districts drawn with an eye toward electing minorities.

The latest example is in the Orlando area, where former Florida Democratic Party chairman Bob Poe, a top Democratic fundraiser and white guy, last week jumped into a congressional primary contest that already included two African-American candidates, former Orlando police Chief Val Demings and state Sen.Geraldine Thompson, and Brazilian-American lawyer Fatima Fahmy.  The district now represented by Republican Dan Webster has been redrawn to make it so much more Democratic-leaning that Webster is looking at running elsewhere. The race is likely to be decided in the Democratic primary, where most of the electorate is minority, but Poe has a strong chance at winning.

That district is next to one now represented by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson, another wealthy white guy. His district was redrawn to significantly improve the odds of adding a non-Cuban Hispanic to Florida's congressional delegation.

In Tampa Bay, outgoing state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, is worried a white Democrat could emerge to run successfully for her historically black District 19 including parts of Tampa and St. Petersburg because the primary vote is splintered among three African-American candidates — state Reps. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and Ed Narain, D-Tampa, and former state Rep.Betty Reed, D-Tampa.

[Last modified: Sunday, January 10, 2016 3:00pm]


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