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Democrats must win back defectors, chairman says

Ron Brown, chairman of the national Democratic Party, called Florida a critical battleground for Democrats in 1990 and beseeched local Democratic leaders to woo back persuadable Democrats who crossed party lines during the last election. "Florida is going to be a crucial state to the future of the national Democratic Party," Brown said Tuesday at a reception sponsored by the Hillsborough Democratic Executive Committee at the Tampa Hilton.

With the 1990 census leading to reapportionment and the possible addition of four congressional seats in Florida, Democratic victory in Florida is a key to the party's national strategy, Brown said.

That victory depends on attracting new voters, as well as reclaiming those "on the fence" Democratswho have voted Republican, he said.

"Getting back those votes in the middle of the political spectrum is crucial to victory," Brown said.

To win back the White House, as well as oust Gov. Bob Martinez and control state offices, Democrats must stop weakening each other, he said.

"We have been experts as Democrats at chopping each other to little pieces, so when it comes to general elections we aren't fit to stand up," he said. "We've got to stop that foolishness."

Brown also warned Democrats against other mistakes, such as allowing themselves to be perceived as anti-business, which carries an anti-growth, anti-jobs implication, and believing the only way to win votes is to act like Republicans.