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Florida's Democratic party leader steps down after bruising elections

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Two months after Democrats suffered historic losses across the state, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz resigned Monday.

“After much reflection, I regret to inform you that I have chosen to retire as FDP Chair, effective immediately,” Diaz wrote in a lengthy letter. “It has been a pleasure and honor to work with you, and rest assured, I will continue to fight with you to get Democrats elected.”

Diaz, a former Miami mayor, became Democratic chairman after the 2020 elections. During the 2022 elections, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won re-election by nearly 20 percentage points and the GOP won all three state Cabinet seats and supermajorities in the Legislature, along with picking up four congressional seats.

“Floridians overwhelmingly adopted constitutional amendments that reflect our values,” Diaz wrote. “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.”

Speculation had swirled since the November elections about whether Diaz would leave the chairman’s post.

“I like Manny. But you can’t lose by 19 points and get to stay to talk about it,” Congressman Jared Moskowitz, a South Florida Democrat said in a Twitter post. The party is expected to vote on new leaders when its executive and central committees meet this month in Maitland.

Republicans in 2021 took the lead in registered voters in Florida, after Democrats traditionally had an edge.

“I don’t care about the ideology of the next Chair,” tweeted Sean Shaw, a former state lawmaker and the 2018 Democratic candidate for attorney general. “I care about their ability to register voters and run the actual operation of the (Florida Democratic Party) competently. Everything else comes after that.”