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Broward Democrats lose keynote speaker


Broward Democrats suddenly have no keynote speaker with less than three weeks to go until their annual fundraising event after MSNBC’s Ed Schultz backed out.

The Huffington Post reported Monday that Schultz cancelled his March 15 speech after Huffington Post had contacted the network about his planned speech. 

"He was not told it was a fundraising event," network spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski told Naked Politics this morning.

That however makes no sense since the Unity Dinner is regularly described by media as the main fundraising event for the Broward Democratic Executive Committee.

Chairman Mitch Ceasar said Tuesday he is working to fill the slot. In the past, the group has drawn some high profile names including Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Howard Dean, Cory Booker and Terry McAuliffe.

The main draw for reporters may not be the speaker: it’s whether former Gov. Charlie Crist who hopes to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott appears and speaks and whether he wins over the crowd. As of Tuesday, Ceasar said that Crist had been invited to speak for a few minutes but had not yet confirmed. (We will update this post if we get a response from Crist’s campaign about his plans.)

Broward is the home turf of former state sen. Nan Rich of Weston who is running an underdog campaign against Crist in the Democratic primary. Rich describes herself as the “true Democrat” in the race unlike the GOPer-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Crist. While many Broward Democratic activists are publicly loyal to Rich, they want Scott ousted by a Democrat and are certain to line up behind the primary winner.

In 2010, the Democrats' candidate for governor Alex Sink was criticized for not appearing in Broward early enough and often enough -- and they repaid her with a lousy 41 percent countywide turnout and she lost to Scott.