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State Rep. Sands to run Dem Party's South Florida office

State Rep. Franklin Sands (D-Weston) will head up a new yet to be opened South Florida office for the Florida Democratic Party, chairman Rod Smith said in an interview today.

Several details have to be worked out including Sands' title, pay and office location though Smith said the office will likely be in northern Dade or southern Broward. Sands will focus on the voter-rich counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

Smith said the state party will open a similar office in the Orlando area but he doesn't have a person picked to run that office yet.

The party shouldn't wait until just before elections to open offices and needs a more permanent presence to build relationships with activists and do training, Smith said.

We asked: why have a white guy head up a South Florida office when Broward's future is minority majority? Smith said he approached Sands, a former minority leader, about the position because he "knows the the donor base, he knows the constituent base, he knows the electeds." And he said the party will do voter outreach to black and and Hispanic communities.

Sands narrowly lost a Weston City Commission race in 1997 and a state legislative primary to Roger Wishner in 2002. In 2004, he had no Democratic primary for a state house seat and spent about $200,000 while his Republican opponent spent about $4,000. The former owner of a jewelry business, Sands lost millions of dollars in the Bernie Madoff scandal.