Tuesday, June 12, 2007

JJ Weekend - Building Capacity

If the Jefferson-Jackson weekend was a state of the Party event, I can tell you that the state of the Florida Democratic Party is strong. Never have I seen a more enthusiastic and hopeful group of Democrats.

There was a lot of savoring our 2006 victories. But there was also the realization that there is a lot of work still to be done. On Saturday morning, I heard one phrase several times - capacity building. Now is the time to put the pieces fully in place to capitalize on our successes of 2006 in the 2008 cycle. Helen Briley from Pinellas commented that the party's presidential nominee should make more use of the existing DEC infrastructure. That way they wouldn't have to recreate the wheel everywhere they go.

FDP Chair Karen Thurman let it be known that the FDP is creating a capacity building checklist so the nominee will know what resources they already have available to them in each county. The check list includes surrogate speakers, crowd builders and community leaders. All in all, the chair hopes to have a list of 1,000 Florida Democratic leaders and operative who will be available to assist our presidential nominee. Karen talked about a Campaign Template so local parties would know what they had to do to win.

In a nod to my friend alonewolf, Karen made special mention of a provision in the new election law that includes the paper trail. That provision lets anyone who applies for an absentee ballot after July 1 receive an absentee ballot for every election through 2010. I can't tell you how many times I have heard alonewolf talk about our absentee ballot deficit. Well, in the special election for HD-49 won by Darren Soto, we won the absentee ballot, the early vote and election day. No one can remember the last time that happened.

Speaking of special elections, we do have 2 special elections coming up in 2 weeks. Suzan Franks is facing "consistent conservative" Charlie Dean for SD-3. Suzan is an experienced campaigner, having held several elective offices in her native New Hampshire. This district had elected Nancy Argenziano, one of the more moderate Republicans in the Senate. Franks has been telling voters
if you liked Nancy, you'll love me.
Suzan is going to have a tough go against Dean, who was busy raising money in Tallahassee tonight. So if you can, donate to Franks campaign, or volunteer your time. With your help, and the help of the FDP, Suzan can pull this one out.

The other special is for HD-43. This is the seat that Charlie Dean vacated to run for the Senate. Our candidate is Sophia Diaz-Fonseca, who resigned her seat on the Inverness City Council to make this race. Diaz-Fonseca will be facing off against former Pinellas Property Appraiser (and supposedly retired) Ron Schulz. Karen mentioned again and again that since the House and the Senate districts overlap, that we will be getting double bangs for our bucks.

There is a lot of valuable experience to be gained and lessons to be learned from these special elections. And there is a lot of respect earned by Democrats who can take these seats from Republicans. When Darren Soto, the winner of the HD-49 special election approached their table, two Congressmen and a US Senator' Chief of Staff stood up. That's capacity building.


tally said...

Great post. It is exciting to see how all the pieces are fitting together.

One point that needs to be made about the SD3 and HD43 races is that even if we are not likely to win them, they are good for creating future infrastructure for the 2008 presidential and congressional campaigns.

This is how the FDP's use of the internet can help it implement a 67 county policy even when House and Senate Victory resources are reserved for more winnable races. It costs nothing to feature someone's picture on their site and request donations. Karen's emails raising funds also helps.

Now it is up to the bloggers and others to help connect all the disparate parts in these communities so that everyone's efforts can be leveraged into a winning combination.

alonewolf said...

Hey Gatordem, has anyone covered the statement by the DNC with regard to the primary?

The Democratic National Committee issued the following statement following the Florida Democratic Party’s Executive Committee vote on the primary:

“The DNC will enforce the rules as passed by its 447 members in August 2006. Until the Florida State Democratic Party formally submits its plan and we’ve had the opportunity to review that submission, we will not speculate further.”