Weeks of heated behind-the-scenes fighting over their leadership led Democrats to the scene many expected and hoped for Saturday morning: Tallahassee fundraiser Allison Tant, newly elected as Florida’s state party chair, hugging her opponent Alan Clendenin, who was then elected vice chair.
The pair represent the new leadership for a Florida Democratic Party that, from top to bottom, had only one theme in its quarterly meeting held at the Marriot Orlando Lake Mary Hotel: defeat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the 2014 election.
“We are going to work together. We are going to be one party. We are going to move forward and do all we have to do, in the bonds of sisterhood, brotherhood, friendship, inclusivity… and we are going to beat Rick Scott!” declared Tant, 51, after winning election.
She and Clendenin, an air-traffic controller and union organizer from Tampa, raised hands together as a sign of that unity after the pair had fought through weeks of campaigning that included reports of arm-twisting phone calls from elected officials such as U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, threats and angry responses among the Democrats with votes in this election.
“Make no mistake, GOP,” declared Clendenin, 53. “This team’s comin’ to get ya!”