Florida Republicans bested Democrats in the blocking and tackling of running campaigns last year, leading to victories up and down the ballot for the GOP. Now the state’s top Democrat is bringing in outside help to prevent a repeat in 2022.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the National Democratic Training Committee are announcing a new initiative to train local county Democratic leaders in organization and strategizing. The goal is to strengthen the Democrats closest to the voters and activists on the ground.
“Organizing has historically been the Democratic Party’s strong suit — and after Florida’s 2020 election results, it’s clear that an initiative to strengthen party efforts from the ground up, prioritizing the local level, will be crucial for future success,” Fried, the state’s only statewide Democrat, said in a statement.
The training will take place over four sessions that will begin in April.
This series is the latest effort by Fried to help the party rebuild from the ground up. Fried recently announced the hiring of Abigayil Yisrael as engagement and outreach director for her political committee. Yisrael is coming off the successful campaign of Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, in which Democrats flipped the southern state blue to take control of the Senate.
This refocus on the ground will be a familiar tune to local county parties, who for years have heard such promises from state Democratic Party leaders only to watch them abandon those efforts as elections approach.
After widespread losses in 2018, Florida Democrats spent months assessing what went wrong and concluded that they needed to give more resources to local Democratic parties and engage with their activists all year, not just election season.
By the time the 2020 election rolled around, there was a steady drumbeat of angst and frustration from local Democratic leaders, who said they were being stepped on by national Democrats. Many sounded the alarm that Joe Biden’s campaign wasn’t doing enough to engage with Black and Latino Floridians and that these outside strategists didn’t understand the intricacies of operating in such a large, diverse state.
The National Democratic Training Committee partners with labor unions, trade groups, state parties and progressive organizations. Its Florida series will focus on training local precinct committee people, membership recruitment and building a successful organization.
“When our local party infrastructure is organized, we get more people involved, recruit more candidates and ultimately win more races. We are thrilled to be teaming up with Commissioner Fried to train Democratic leaders across the state,” said Kelly Dietrich, founder and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee.