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Bittel makes run for Florida Democratic Party chairman official

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Coconut Grove developer and prominent progressive donor Stephen Bittel officially announced his run for Florida Democratic Party chairman Tuesday morning, confirming what just about everyone already knew to be so.

Bittel, the chairman of Terranova Corp., was widely known to be interested in the position, which became available after Allison Tant announced she wouldn't seek reelection in January. It's why Bittel's behind-the-scenes bid for Miami-Dade County state committeeman -- a position that made him eligible to run for state chairman -- garnered so much attention.

"Today, I announce my candidacy for Chair of the Florida Democratic Party. The Florida Democratic Party needs a new direction, a change in strategy, and a clear message. I am a different kind of candidate who brings a fresh outsiders view and a new approach," Bittel said in a press release issued by his camp.

“Democrats are the party of working families and we need to expand beyond Tallahassee and get on the road to engage working Floridians from Pensacola to Key West.  As Chair, I will work with leaders from every Florida county to build a bench of Democratic candidates with fresh voices and together we will assemble a permanent progressive infrastructure that Florida Democrats need in order to be successful in the upcoming elections."

Bittel will run against Hillsborough Bradford County activist Alan Clendenin, Osceola DEC Chairwoman Leah Carius and Duval County's Lisa King.

 

Here's Bittel's full press release:

Miami-Dade Democratic Party State Committeeman, Stephen Bittel

Launches Campaign for Chair of the Florida Democratic Party

Miami, FL—Today, progressive Democrat Stephen Bittel announced his run for Florida’s Democratic Party Chair.  

“Today, I announce my candidacy for Chair of the Florida Democratic Party. The Florida Democratic Party needs a new direction, a change in strategy, and a clear message. I am a different kind of candidate who brings a fresh outsiders view and a new approach,” said Stephen Bittel, Miami-Dade State Committeeman. “Democrats are the party of working families and we need to expand beyond Tallahassee and get on the road to engage working Floridians from Pensacola to Key West.  As Chair, I will work with leaders from every Florida county to build a bench of Democratic candidates with fresh voices and together we will assemble a permanent progressive infrastructure that Florida Democrats need in order to be successful in the upcoming elections. We must invest in a 67 county grassroots approach focused on our Democratic clubs and executive committees, with offices and organizers throughout the state.  We’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m excited to get started if selected as Florida’s Democratic Party State Chair.”

Last week, local, statewide and national progressives -- including The Florida Education Association, SEIU, the Miami-Dade Democratic Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Keith Ellison, and dozens of Democratic Party leaders -- rallied behind Stephen Bittel and helped him to secure a 250 to 161 victory for Democratic Party State Committeeman over former State Senator Dwight Bullard.

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Stephen Bittel is a lifelong progressive Florida Democrat, voting in the same Miami-Dade precinct for more than 30 years. Over the past 20 years, Stephen has helped more than 100 progressive Democrats win office in Florida by serving as a mentor and backer for Democratic candidates.  Stephen was born at Jackson Memorial Hospital and attended Miami Dade Public Schools his entire life.  Stephen’s wife is a public school teacher and a member of the Dade Teachers Union and  two of his three children served in the peace corps.  While in law school at the University of Miami, he started a small property management company in his home that he grew to become one of the most successful real estate companies in Florida.  

 

 

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