Former Miami-Dade Democratic chairman Bret Berlin announced his candidacy for state Democratic chairman Saturday, saying the party needs to change with the times and heed the lessons of the Barack Obama campaign.
"Where the Barack Obama campaign was successful, our party has failed us," Berlin, 39, declared in a conference call in which he scoffed at the party only picking up one state House seat in November. "In this year when Democrats should have swept and had victories across the state, we did deplorably bad."
But if Berlin hoped to convey that he would be a more effective, unifying leader than current state party chairwoman Karen Thurman, his conference call didn't help. As soon as he opened up the call for questions, it degenerated into squabbling as several Miami-Dade Democratic activists took turns accusing Berlin of violating eligibility rules for his candidacy and complaining about assorted local party problems.
"Mr. reporter! My mother always taught me don't take your mess out of your house and into somebody else's," chimed in Dorothy Jackson at one point, referring to Berlin's campaign for state chairman.
"The press needs to know that you are not a responsible leader," activist Barbara Walters said at another point.
Berlin said the call was a indication of how inclusive and transparent he would be as state party leader. Party leaders are scheduled to elect new state leaders on Dec. 20, and Thurman is favored to win another term.