Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Thurman brought success to Florida Democrats, but was it enough?

It's the curse and the blessing of being in charge: You can take credit for the good, but you can also be blamed for the bad, regardless of whether you were responsible for either.

That's where state Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman sits today, five weeks before the state party decides whether to give her another four-year term.

The former congresswoman from Dunnellon took the helm of the state party in 2005 as Democrats were reeling from huge losses in 2002 and 2004. She inherited a financial mess that included tax liens for unpaid payroll taxes. Since then, Florida Democrats have dramatically improved their voter files, won a presidential election, picked up three congressional seats and a state Cabinet seat, re-elected a U.S. senator, and gained 10 state House seats.

But they also suffered through a presidential primary debacle that led to a candidate boycott of Florida and had a weak showing in legislative races this year. Some prominent party leaders are questioning whether Thurman can capitalize on the enthusiasm and organization generated by President-elect Obama.

"When Barack Obama spends $40-million in Florida, and the state party can't figure out how to pick up a few seats in the Legislature, chances are they don't understand change," said Allan Katz, a Democratic National Committee member from Tallahassee and top Obama fundraiser. "Whoever's in there needs to be able to generate a lot of enthusiasm from people who raised a lot of money for Obama in Florida, and for a lot of us that will require a different chair."

Sen. Bill Nelson is backing Thurman's re-election, but the only other statewide elected Democrat, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, said Thursday she had not decided.

It's not clear whether a formidable challenger will emerge, however. Miami-Dade Democratic chairman Bret Berlin and Flagler County Democratic chairman Doug Courtney are seriously looking at running. Veteran Democratic fundraiser Mike Moskowitz, a Broward County state committee member, said he is waiting to see if a consensus candidate emerges.

"I cannot stand by and let us not have the best possible leadership," said Moskowitz, who argues the party needs both a strong fundraiser and political director concentrating on 2010.

Thurman brought success to Florida Democrats, but was it enough? 11/20/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 23, 2008 5:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Boehner: Trump's term 'disaster,' aside from foreign affairs

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker John Boehner says that aside from international affairs and foreign policy, President Donald Trump's time in office has so far been a "complete disaster."

    John Boehner said he's been friends with Trump for 15 years, but still has a hard time envisioning him as president.
  2. Veto community college budget cuts, St. Petersburg College leader urges Gov. Scott

    Blogs

    The president of St. Petersburg College is calling on Gov. Rick Scott to veto a proposed budget cut that slashes community college funding in a time of declining enrollment and tuition revenue.

    Dr. Bill Law of SPC
  3. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed in Plant City when car runs red light, FHP says

    Blogs

    Two Mulberry teens are dead and their cousin, who was scheduled to graduate from Mulberry High School Thursday evening, was critically injured after their car ran a red light and collided with another vehicle in Plant City Thursday afternoon.

  4. Review: Idina Menzel belts out powerful, courageous performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

    Blogs

    The best moment of Idina Menzel’s show at Ruth Eckerd Hall Thursday came during the singer’s best-known song, Let It Go.

    Idina Menzel performed at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on May 25, 2017.
  5. Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire

    Blogs

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman, who was under investigation for sending a directive to her staff that said white students should be in the same class when creating …

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire pending School Board approval. Hoffman created an uproar in April when she sent an email to staff directing them to keep white students in the same class when creating classroom rosters.