TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Democrats in the Sunshine State have begun announcing their intention to run for new party chair one week after Manny Diaz announced his resignation. On Friday, political consultant Alex Berrios announced he would join a growing list of candidates that includes Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow and Broward Democrats Chair Rick Hoye.
Berrios pointed to his years of “direct experience” and promised “new ideas and approaches,” but some party loyalists expressed dissatisfaction with his credentials.
“New ideas and approaches is prob best for someone that wasn't the senior advisor at FDP managing multiple depts,” tweeted one user.
“No! No! No! @FlaDems can and do deserve better,” tweeted Orange County Democrats Chair Wes Hodge.
Rick Wilson, a Florida-based political strategist and popular never-Trumper, expressed support for Berrios to his 1.5 million followers, tweeting: “Get ON it!!!”
JEREMY MATLOW AND RICK HOYE
Matlow recently defended anti-law enforcement sentiments for a member of the Citizens Police Review Board. In November, Matlow tweeted a picture of his son dressed up as a princess with the comment “As it should be.” In addition to his far-left views, he may face eligibility questions due to his position as an elected official.
“Respectfully, not sure the key to Fla Dems winning statewide races is to move further left,” tweeted Jacob Perry, co-founder of Center Street PAC, in response to Matlow’s announcement.
Hoye, a former Broward County Sheriff’s deputy and public-school teacher, has led the party in Broward County since 2020.
Logan Rubenstein, former board member for the Broward Young Democrats, tweeted: “Not impressed by Rick Hoye and the Broward Dem operation this last cycle. Next…”
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISM AND LACK OF TEAMWORK
Diaz, the former Miami mayor, bemoaned a lack of commitment to campaign fundamentals like volunteer recruitment and training.
“We have plenty of social media activists, not roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers. We communicate virtually, not personally,” he said of the party in a letter to county executive committee chairs announcing his decision to step down. “There was no energy or sense of community or urgency. Recruiting, training and building volunteers seemed to be an afterthought. Large events and recruitment efforts, traditional tools for capturing volunteers, did not exist.”
Diaz also suggested some Democrats placed individual self-interest above party interests.
“I found obstacles to securing the resources and a long standing, systemic and deeply entrenched culture resistant to change; one where individual agendas are more important than team; where self-interest dominates and bureaucracies focus on self-preservation.”
Former state representative Sean Shaw seemed to support Diaz’s emphasis on campaign fundamentals, tweeting: “I don’t care about the ideology of the next Chair. I care about their ability to register voters and run the actual operation of the (Florida Democratic Party) competently. Everything else comes after that.”