Rod Smith Named Chair of Florida Democratic Party
He's been chosen to lead them into the next election. Months after defeat in the race with Alex Sink for Governor of Florida, Rod Smith was named Chair of the state's Democratic party.
Smith is asking Democrats to lick their wounds quickly and shift their focus to winning next time. As a prosecutor and politician, Smith has been a fixture in the North Central Florida community for decades. We spoke to him in August, when he was named Alex Sink's pick for Lieutenant Governor. I sat down again with him again today, to find out his strategy for leading Florida's Democratic Party.
Smith said, "You can only pout for so long and then you have to go on about the business of getting ready for um, the next adventure in your life...and little beknownst to me, it would be as chair of the Democratic party of Florida."
Smith said the last election is a reminder of how quickly the political tide can change. He said, "When you've just lost an election as the Democrats have lost this last election, we hope they will reconsider pretty rapidly and I think that will occur."
Smith said he'll encourage local campaign efforts to increase Democratic voter turnout, all in order to accomplish three big goals.
He said, "I wanna implement (Amendments) 5 & 6 for redistricting, I wanna re-elect a democratic president and I wanna re-elect a democratic United States Senator. Those will be my immediate goals." And now that Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has taken office, Smith said the Democratic party will fill the role of balancing the message being sent to the people of Florida.
Smith said, "As we talk about public schools and public education and public safety...Our job will be in part to make sure that that's a complete message and people see the whole picture."
Even as Smith forms a strategy for a Democratic comeback, the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Arizona is on his mind. Smith said security will be re-evaluated. He also said that rhetoric is not to blame for the actions of a deranged individual.
Smith said, "We're not gonna stop speaking our mind nor should we. I just hope we always remember that the fact that I may not agree with the other side, and I'm now in a position where I will regularly not agree with the other side, doesn't mean that I don't have enormous respect for many of the people on the other side."
Later this week the state Republican party will meet in Tampa to name their own chair.
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