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Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow wants to chair the Florida Democratic Party

 Tallahassee City Commissioner announced a lawsuit Thursday against the Blue Print Intergovernmental Agency.
Regan McCarthy
Tallahassee City Commissioner announced a lawsuit Thursday against the Blue Print Intergovernmental Agency.

Tallahassee city commissioner Jeremy Matlow is running for chair of the Florida Democratic Party. The spot is now open after Manny Diaz announced his resignation following Republican sweeps of all statewide races.

In a statement, Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow says he’s running for the state party chairmanship to help rebuild the Democratic Party’s local and statewide infrastructure. Democratic lawmakers and consultants have blamed the losses on poor messaging, a tug-of-war between the progressive and moderate voices within the party, a lack of voter outreach, and a decision by the national party not to invest in state races.

Matlow contrasts Florida’s rightward shift to what happened nationally; Democrats managed to keep control of the U.S. Senate, and losses in the House weren’t nearly as large as expected.

He also cited his big victory locally over a well-funded and business-backed opponent as evidence that he can help the state party.

“In my last Commission race, Republicans and big special interests spent over half of a million dollars to stop the momentum of grassroots, people-powered Democrats in Tallahassee We fought back, organized at the neighborhood level and put together a coalition that can win,” Matow said of his race.

“Working together, Democrats can support their local DECs and lay the framework needed to win statewide. It's an exciting day for the Democratic Party. This is just the beginning and I humbly submit my name for consideration as Florida Democratic Party chair.”

Matlow’s bid to lead FPD comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis now has a super-majority of Republicans in the state legislature and all state-level cabinet positions are now held by Republicans. The governor also beat his Democratic challenger by nearly 20 points—one of the most lopsided victories in state politics.

The Democratic Party’s statewide apparatus has been left in shambles. Diaz, a former Miami mayor, was named chair in 2020. Calls for his resignation began immediately after the 2022 midterm election losses. His resignation is effective immediately.

“Floridians overwhelmingly adopted constitutional amendments that reflect our values,” Diaz wrote in his resignation statement. “However, we cannot win elections if we continue to rely on voter registration to drive turnout, build field operations only around elections, and expect to get our vote out without engaging voters where they live; listening to them and earning their trust.”

Matlow's aide, Ryan Ray, was recently tapped to lead the local democratic party while Leon County Republican chairman Evan Power is seeking to chair the statewide party.

Copyright 2023 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.