Is state Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman in danger of losing her post when the party holds state party elections next month? Probably not — she has long enjoyed the support of Sen. Bill Nelson — but she's not especially cozy with Barack Obama's most influential supporters in Florida, so anything could happen.
Miami-Dade Democratic chairman Bret Berlin, 39, is among her more likely challengers: "I think there was an overwhelming call throughout the state for change (on Nov. 4), and I think change has to be at every level. We have a mandate and an opportunity to restructure ourselves and start to incorporate the new spirit of activism and the new technology," said Berlin, a 39-year-old caterer.
He said he hasn't made a final decision yet, but took an extra dig at Thurman, who had done side work with former state GOP chairman Al Cardenas lobbying for Miami-Dade.
"If I choose to run for state chair I can assure you I'll be full-time chair, and I won't be a lobbyist for a Republican firm on the side," Berlin said.
Other potential names floating around include South Florida fundraiser Alex Heckler (possible, but not likely, he said); and former Clinton administration senior adviser Alvin Brown of Jacksonville.
Delay the election?
There's a fair amount of Buzz out there from prominent Democrats who think it would make more sense to wait a couple of months to elect state party leaders. The idea would be to hold off and see how the new Obama White House and Democratic National Committee want to structure their political operations in ways that might integrate state parties more.
"I do think it is coming up faster than is optimal. I'd like to hear what the new DNC chair and the Obama White House has to say on this, but they have much more pressing matters than who the new chair of the Florida Democratic Party is," said Kirk Wagar, Florida finance chairman for the Obama campaign.
State party officials, however, say an extended delay could leave Florida with no representation when the Democratic National Committee meets in January. Miami resident Andy Tobias could lose his spot as finance chairman, and top Obama fundraiser Allan Katz of Tallahassee could lose a shot at vice chairman.
Is Wagar interested in seeing new blood at the helm of the state party? "I haven't heard any new names out there that blow my skirt up," said the Miami lawyer, who we hope was speaking figuratively.
Martinez in danger
With most observers at this point seeing Gov. Charlie Crist as safe for re-election, the marquee race in 2010 could be Sen. Mel Martinez’s re-election. The Republican incumbent dismisses widespread Buzz in his own party that he may not seek a second term, but the nonpartisan Cook Political Report already classifies that race as a tossup.
Check out Castor on TV today
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, is among those touting state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink for the Senate in 2010. Check out Castor, who co-chaired the Obama campaign in Florida, on Political Connections on Bay News 9 today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Jennifer Liberto contributed to this week's Buzz.