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For now, embattled Florida Democratic Party chairman keeps his job


Two top African-American Democrats in the Florida Legislature aired their grievances Tuesday with Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel, reaching an apparent truce — for now — after Bittel called black lawmakers “childish.”

Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens and future House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee of Miami stopped short of asking Bittel for his resignation during a two-hour-long private meeting at Bittel’s Miami Beach office Tuesday.

But the lawmakers, who remain upset, said they demanded that Bittel take a more inclusive approach to leading the party ahead of the 2018 election. 

“There are things that he is going to have to do, that the party is going to have to do, to make sure that respect is shown,” Braynon said, citing outreach to minority communities and diverse party committee appointments as examples. “There have to be legitimate action items.”

Does he think Bittel will follow through? “I don’t think he has a choice,” Braynon said. 

Braynon said it wasn’t up to him to call for Bittel’s resignation, given that he’d never backed him as chairman in the first place — and wouldn’t if the vote took place again today, he added.

“I would not vote for him again, just like I didn’t vote for him before,” Braynon said.

Braynon said Bittel once again apologized for saying the senator had been acting like “a 3-year-old” at the party’s annual fundraiser Saturday night.

In a statement released after the meeting Tuesday, Bittel tried to look forward.

“Our meeting was productive and we are moving forward together to secure victory in 2018,” he said. “Together we are focused on electing Democrats who will stand up for working families and bring change and economic progress to Florida.”

More here.