Poor 2nd quarter fundraising raises questions about FDP operation

The Florida Democratic Party’s second-quarter finance report has raised many eyebrows across the  state. While Chairwoman Allison Tant can rightfully take credit for strong Jefferson-Jackson dinner, the fundraising unrelated to the party’s marque event this quarter was very poor in fact the poorest we’ve seen in some time.  This quarter was the worst Q2 for the party since 2005, when the scandal-plagued Scott Maddox leadership of the FDP could barely pay the bills and keep the lights on at the HQ despite getting a sweetheart deal after shamefully selling the former HQ to the Searcy/Denny Law Firm to raise needed cash. (I can speak from personal experience that it wasn’t the first time that specific law firm had bailed the party both statewide and locally in Palm Beach out when it did not meet its financial commitments.)

After the first quarter, I gave Chairwoman Tant a pass blaming the poor report on former Chairman Rod Smith among other things. I’ll repeat some of my analysis from April in saying that partisan fundraising is not easy particularly when you have been a long-term minority party like the Democrats. It has been further complicated by longstanding low caliber of party leadership that preceded Tant. It is obvious that the Chairwoman has understood that the previous staff inherited from Smith was not cutting it both on the communications and on the fundraising level. Her hires to solve these problems have been smart, though I have heard some snickers about the specific personnel let me say it is very tough to get high-end people to work for a party that has the type of recent losing record that the FDP does. The new staffers are about as good as you could get given the limitations on the party. The Chairwoman and her top staffers deserve credit for finding people who can at least make an attempt to improve the staffing situation.

Tant was a prolific bundler for President Obama, and she and other party officials need to tap the networks of those who don’t typically give to the FDP or local DECs in order to be successful. Current fundraising strategies will always fail because those who give large amounts of money on the state level are comfortable with the status quo where the GOP has held over 60% of legislative seats since 1998. Furthermore, the Democrats have lost 13 of the last 14 races for Governor or Cabinet, the worst record in those types of races of any Democratic Party east of the Mississippi since 2000.

The problem is that Tant’s fundraising to this point hasn’t been more creative or grassroots oriented as I had hoped it would be. The Chairwoman ran for Chair and was elected based on her fundraising prowess and we were told she could raise “millions” for the party. Those promises seem to have been hollow in retrospect, though I think it is unfair to blame Tant entirely because again she inherited a mess from an absentee former chairman and has just now been able to overhaul the staff  in the fashion that any new chair with her ambition needed to undertake. So while Tant must bear some of the blame for the poor quarter, the problems are quite honestly endemic in the party’s infrastructure both for fundraising and for turning out voters in non-Presidential elections.

Florida’s Democrats continue to be a woeful minority party. This week’s finance reports just reinforce that unfortunate notion. But with Tant’s recent staff changes, perhaps we won’t be having this discussion again in three months.

20 comments

  1. Good post.

    All the more reason /We need Charlie Crist so he can raise money for the party

    1. Dave Trotter · · Reply

      And what makes you think Crist will raise money for the party? He hasn’t done it yet, and he has been a Democrat and an Obama supporter for how long now? Exactly!

      1. Morning Star · ·

        Do you want to win? Or do you want to keep losing so you can keep criticizing? If you want to win back Crist! If you want to lose back Nan Rich!

        I guess all of you like losing. Well I don’t !

      2. Dave Trotter · ·

        See, Morning Star, that is exactly the problem, you are more concerned about “winning” than sticking to your principals. Yes, i’m sure if the Democrats recruited Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, they would win as well. But what is the point?? Kind of like making Karl Marx an advocate for capitalism in order to sell Che Guevara t-shirts at Wal Mart.

        The WORST thing for Democratic fundraising is to have Crist as the nominee. Why? Because it shows that Democrats need someone who switched parties in order to win. This further exposes that the party is actually weaker than expected. If the Democrats electoral success hangs on Crist, then that means the Party isn’t doing their jobs. And if that is the case, who in their right mind would donate money to the Democratic Party? Yes, donors might donate to Crist individually, but there will be no trickling-down whatsoever!

        And then, let’s say Crist wins…as far as governance, you have another issue. Either Crist is going to be a true Democrat, and not get a single piece of legislation passed. Or second, he is going to be the “great compromiser”, and gut Democratic principals in order to show legislative success. So, you will either get an ineffective Democrat or a Republican. And again, what is the point? And as far as governing, Sen. Rich would be much better than Crist. Trust me, the House and Senate Republicans are going to tell Charlie to pound sand up his ass each time he tries to get any legislation passed, even if he does work with Republicans. He is screwed either way. And once re-election time comes along, Crist will get absolutely destroyed. And all this for what? Short-term, short-sighted Democratic success? It isn’t worth it.

        The reasons that Republicans can win and raise more money is because they actually stick by their principles, thus the donors know what they are getting, and feel safer with their investment. Yes, the GOP is crazier than this guy,

        but they are consistent in candidate recruitment and other things that make a successful party.

        So, before going on this Crist bandwagon, realize that it is NOT the best thing for the Party. The only Democrat that will benefit from Crist being the nominee is Crist, that is it! If you think Crist will miraculously make Democrats around Florida win, then I have a penis-shape building that I would like to sell you on the corner of Monroe and Apalachee Parkway in Tally!

  2. Dave Trotter · · Reply

    Raising a few thousand dollars for President Obama at house-warming events is a much, much, much, much, much, much smaller and easier task than funding a political party for the 4th largest state in the nation as well as the largest swing state in the nation. Kind of like saying you know how the fly the Concorde because you drive a Renault!These are easily things that should have been noticed when people were looking for a FDP Chair. But the shortsightedness and cronyism of those who supporter her led to the current problems of the FDP. Florida Democrats only have themselves to blame for this situation.

    But what is equally embarrassing for Florida Democrats is the candidate recruitment for the Legislature, as well as the fundraising. The Democrats STILL haven’t recruited any quality candidates in key seats for both the House and Senate. Mark Danish and Carl Zimmerman were badly out-fundraised by their Republican opponents. That Scott Herman guy has raised a whopping $440 for the whole year! The only Democrat in a key seat that had a worth-a-crap fundraising quarter is Mike Clelland, which is the seat most likely to go Republican. Castor Dentel was alright, but on par with her Republican opponents.

    The Florida Democratic Party, as well as House and Senate Victory, are doing a huge disservice to Florida Democrats. With each passing day, they are basically saying “fuck you” to the average Florida Democratic voter. This party is in shambles. The fundraising is absolutely pathetic. I would have expected much more from the crack “Yale educated” folks the FDP rely on with their fundraising. This is finally to the point of being laughable!

  3. Morning Star · · Reply

    Charlie will rescue us. Jeff Greene would have but the leftists and blacks forced the meek nomination and that’s why we all backed Crist.

    Run unopposed for the nomination he will then the crush Scott. We all need to get behind Charlie Crist because he can win and he’ll raise lots of $$$ to do so!

    1. Sampson · · Reply

      What’s up Doc? I can just picture you staring at yourself in your bedroom mirror with your confederate flag behind you and your white hood. Probably use “segregation now” to get your blood pumping in the morning. I am sure your friend Jeff could provide you with some white powder and a hooker to get a rise out of you in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone else, you disgusting bastard.

  4. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    Dave Trotter said exactly everything I was going to say on every single point. Dave’s comments should be read by every single Democrat in the state especially all the idiot sheep who had an opportunity to elect a great leader in Alan Clendenin but were led like sheep to the slaughter by Scott Arceneaux and Christian Ulvert that only cared about keeping the stupid Democrats money flowing into their pockets and their looser Democratic consultants buddies pockets so they can continue their long loosing streak of Democratic candidates getting creamed by their Republican candidate opponents.

    Way to go Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Bill Nelson your “Hand Picked” baby Allison Tant is sucking wind and shuffling a few chairs and hiring a few new kids to do an experienced adult’s job is not going to make it.

    I guess after we loose to Governor Scott and all the Cabinet and loose more Democrats from the House to go back under the magic 40 and Senate, where the big “pick up” Democratic Senate seat has an idiot right wing Tea Party Republican named Jeff Brandis with a $200 million dollar bank account maybe then the Allison Tant sheep will become so upset that they will go begging Alan to take them back.

    Right???

    Nawwww. They will never learn and it will be too late!!!

    1. demdaysi · · Reply

      Recall Alison Tant. She is in over her head.

    2. Concerned English Speaker · · Reply

      Dear Concerned Democrat – it is “loser.” Not “looser.” A “loser” is a negative term, most accurately applied to someone who regularly fails to succeed. “Looser” means “more loose.” Please correctly spell this in future posts. I just can’t take it anymore.

      1. Thanks CES…the looser thing is so annoying.

  5. You are racist thug Morning Star. Crist will not win. Jeff Green is a joke and so is this party. Here is something for your palet you dog;
    1. Sargent a Fraternity Borther of Crist, Donated Nearly 30K to Crist. “Crist, a fraternity brother of Sargeant’s at Florida State University, has received $29,800 from Sargeant and his family over the past 12 years. Sargeant’s Trigeant Air also donated $100,000 to Crist’s inauguration — money the governor returned when he canceled the gala.” [Miami Herald, 9/12/08)

    2. Sargeant’s Company IOTC Has Won Four Pentagon Contracts. “Sargeant’s IOTC has experienced phenomenal growth since the Iraq war started, transforming itself from an unknown business in 2004 to a major Pentagon contractor in only a few years. The way the American military structured the deal, only a company with the blessing of the Jordanian government could win the contract. A bidder was required to have a Jordanian government “Letter of Authorization,” and only IOTC received such a letter. […] IOTC has won three successive contracts to perform the work. The company — a partnership between Sargeant, Al-Saleh and a third man — first won the Pentagon Iraq fuel contract in 2004 with another company. When the Pentagon put the contract up for competition in 2005, IOTC, now incorporated in Florida, won with a bid of $213 million, even though other companies offered lower bids. The Defense Energy Support Center, or DESC, which awarded the contract, said in a statement to NBC News that none of those lower bidders met contract requirements. Then, in 2007, when the Defense Department put the contract up for bid again, IOTC won again.” [MSNBC, 6/18/08]

    3. Rep. Waxman Wrote Letter To Harry Sargeant III Of International Oil Trading Company Raising Questions About Overcharging The Defense Department For Fuel. “I am writing regarding recent allegations that Defense Department contractors have been overcharging the U.S. government to ship fuel to U.S. bases in lraq. I am writing regarding According to a recent press account regarding International Oil Trading Company (IOTC), ‘For each gallon of jet fuel that is delivered to the U.S. military in Iraq, IOTC charges the Pentagon $1.08 over the market price.’ According to this account, the Pentagon confirmed that ‘IOTC was not the lowest bidder’ for this contract, but that IOTC was the only company with a ‘Letter of Authorization’ from the Jordanian government, which was a Defense Department requirement in the contract.” [link to Waxman letter, 6/17/08]

    4. Sargeant Is Being Sued By King Of Jordan’s Brother-In-Law, Accused Of Fraud In Pipeline Deal. “A little-noticed civil lawsuit in Florida is shining a light on an unusual but hugely profitable Pentagon contract to ship millions of gallons of aviation fuel to U.S. bases in Iraq through the kingdom of Jordan. The deal involves a cast of influential characters, including the king of Jordan’s brother-in-law, who is suing Harry Sargeant III, a top Florida-based fundraiser for Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid. […] Through a company called International Oil Trading Co., or IOTC, Sargeant and a partner have a lucrative contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year to supply American military forces in Iraq with fuel, especially aviation fuel. […] The lawsuit against Sargeant was filed April 10 in Florida state court by Mohammad Al-Saleh, who is married to the half sister of King Abdullah of Jordan. Al-Saleh’s suit says he essentially brokered Sargeant’s contract by arranging the approval and cooperation of the Jordanian government, using his “connections and influence.” […] Al-Saleh alleges in the lawsuit that after he arranged the deal, he was cut out in a scheme meant to defraud him. He claims that he and Sargeant and the third partner, Mustafa Abu-Naba’a, a Jordanian businessman, had invested in IOTC Jordan in 2004. But, he says, Sargeant and Abu-Naba’a committed fraud by forming another company called IOTC USA in Florida without informing him and by channeling the Pentagon contracts through that firm. Al-Saleh is suing Sargeant, Abu Naba’a and the company for $13 million as his share of the profit from the 2005 contract, plus an unspecified amount of profit from the 2007 contract. [MSNBC, 6/18/08]

    5. IOTC Employees Unprotected, Wounded By Roadside Bombs. “Truck drivers for other U.S. military contractors don’t have such protections. Supervisors for the Amman, Jordan-based International Oil Trading Company, said their drivers lack helmets, body armor and Kevlar blankets. Two drivers have been wounded by roadside bombs in recent weeks, said Ahmad Al-Shaer, an International Oil Trading Company supervisor. One was blinded in his right eye and the other was burned. A third driver was kidnapped and beheaded in Trebil recently, Al-Shaer said.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/4/05]

    Jeff Green…
    1.He is a billionaire businessman with little political experience and even less political polish. A Democrat — who once ran as a Republican — he’s a smart guy awkwardly wearing the suit of “candidate” and doing his best to ignore irresistible questions about his wealth and personal life.

    There’s the Heidi Fleiss story — he let the Hollywood madam stay at one of his homes in California for a time. There’s the Mike Tyson story — Greene made the convicted rapist the best man at his wedding three years ago. There are his jets — three of them. And there’s the credit-default swap story — Greene became a billionaire betting that home values would crash.

    In late 2008, with the economy crumbling, Greene told an interviewer, “I got into real estate very much by accident. But I’ve never had more fun than now.”

    That kind of baggage could sink any candidate — if he wasn’t worth $1.25 billion.

    Greene’s fortune has bought him instant clout and turned a political unknown into a serious contender for the Democratic nomination. He’s raised only about $3,000 in campaign contributions but spent $5.8 million — virtually all of his own money — on staff, operations and expensive mailers and statewide television ads.
    (Orlando Sentinel July 11, 2013)

    2. Greene brought two Ukrainian strippers on board to make a cameo appearance and hired stewardesses from coastal towns to serve as his crew. Some doubled as massage therapists, which came in handy after a day of scuba diving, Jet Skiing or kayaking,” wrote Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman.

    After Greene, 55, suddenly jumped into Florida’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary in April, however, people inquired about that vignette.

    “Jeff was traveling on his boat with his rabbi and his younger brother to visit Jewish sites in Romania and Odessa,” a campaign spokesman said in May, denying the stripper story.

    Then, just as Greene was gaining momentum against U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in a race for the Democratic nomination, Tyson went and told Sports Illustrated about that summer when he spent so much time with Greene.

    “I was in St. Tropez, in the South of France. In Ibiza, Spain. I was in Monte Carlo. I was in the Ukraine, Russia, all those places, for three months. From Russia I went to Lisbon, Portgual, from Portugal I went to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I met this drug dealer, right? And he sees that I like getting high, and he wants to be my buddy, right? This guy goes and gets me a big rock of cocaine. So pretty soon I got a party going on. I got everything: I got these rugby players. I got these naked girls, I got all these … everything’s going on in the room. Plus I also had this girl with me that I picked up in Romania. But then [the dealer he met in Amsterdam] saw how much of a mess I was. He came in and kicked everybody out of my room! All the nude people, all the people having sex. He said, ‘I feel so bad I ever gave him that stuff,’ ” Tyson said in an interview published in July.

    Next thing you know Politico was on the phone, asking about Greene’s adventures with Iron Mike.

    No, Greene said, he didn’t go to Amsterdam with Tyson, who was only on board about a month. No, he didn’t see any drug-taking or take any drugs himself.

    “I don’t know what Mike Tyson did when I was not with him, but Summerwind has a zero tolerance for drugs or any illegal activity,” Greene told the St. Petersburg Times, noting that he has paid for drug rehab for Tyson.
    (Tampa Times)

    Hey morning Star…go fuck yourself.

  6. Trotter is generally right. He is right on most of this s*** what did you write on this during the FDP CHAIR ELECTION?

    Dave where you are wrong is that the people backing charlie Crist do not do so out of conviction … they are the worst type of political prostitutes they are people for only interested in making money as consultants and getting jobs in the governor’s office they are not Democrats because they are liberals they are Democrats because they have been able to con candidates in to paint them big bucks to lose races. They are largely talentless hacks who could not cut it as Republicans where you need to be successful in order to make money. They are losers who became Democrats for that reason. They are not progressives.

    1. Dave Trotter · · Reply

      Well, if you put it that way…… 🙂

    2. I feel like CC has been more progressive as an R than Alex Sink was as a D during the same time that they served.

  7. Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Ms. Tant “Let’s Test Democracy in Florida!”

    Please entertain the idea of opening the 2014 Democratic Primary to minority, independent party, and No Party Affiliation (NPA) voters.

    As a non-partisan movement, FIVOrg is actively pursuing a constitutional amendment to change our primary elections to a Top 2 Open Primary system, like California and Washington State. We believe voters should participate in determining primary election outcomes, not political operatives in both parties. We also believe closed primaries are an important voting rights issue because over 2.8 Million minority and independent party and No Party Affiliation voters cannot vote in primary elections.

    Opening the Florida Democratic Primary in 2014 would be a significant step in demonstrating the power of minority and independent party, and NPA voters. This action also demonstrates the willingness of the Democratic Party to do something bold and meaningful. If a person is allowed to vote in a primary would it follow that they would feel like they were part of the democratic process and be more likely to turn out in the general election?

    What better way to determine the real level of voter support to win the general election against the Republicans?

    In 2010, Alex Sink lost to Rick Scott by only 61,550 (~1%) votes. Independents, minority party, and NPA voters cast over 180,000 votes in the election indicating a tremendous untapped resource given the size of this voter population. Democrats currently outnumber Republicans by about 500,000 registered voters but mid-term election years have notoriously low turnouts with an average of 22% (1998-2010).

    Those 500,000 votes weren’t enough to give Ms. Sink the victory in 2010. Conducting a primary with Democrats, minority and independent parties and NPA voters provides you a unique opportunity to show voters you want to be inclusive. Open the door and take the chance!

    As independents, FIVOrg does not endorse candidates for office. Our sole purpose is to provide all voters an equal opportunity to express their preference for a candidate during primary elections. If the Republican Party of Florida has to hold a primary we will ask them to accept the same challenge.

    Please comment on the proposed idea outlined above. Florida needs to wake up in a mid-term election year or face another four years of a Republican dominated state. We plan to send this message to the Florida Democratic Party to raise awareness of our movement to introduce Top 2 Open Primaries in Florida and challenge them to a meaningful experiment in real democracy rather than the current party-dominated process.

    by: Ray Hudkins – Lead Spokesperson

    We ALL thank Ray!

    Duane E. Pike (NPA) – (Tampa-813-968-8378) & Choice Edwards (NPA) – (Clermont 352-242-2333)
    Florida Independent Voting.Org (PAC)

    “We Are At The Right Place, At The Right Time, for The Right Reasons” !

    http://www.FloridaIndependentVoting.Org http://www.FIVOrg.Com http://www.NoPartyAffiliation.Us

  8. The Observer · · Reply

    Do not forget the DelRay gang (Burt and Co.) who continue to screw this up cycle after cycle.

  9. Kartik, I agree with most of what you said but if the Smith machine were so bad then why did they outraise this mess of an admin in both quarters two years ago? I am not defending Smith but merely saying that there really is NO excuse for this group. They have bloated egos with no past successes. Their new pick for FD is just another Ulvert sycophant. Why aren’t we looking for talent outside the state?? As you say, this is the largest and most important swing state in the country. Surely some amazing political minds would want to be involved…not this horrible revolving door of bad staff.

    1. Dave Trotter · · Reply

      THANK YOU!! For years I have said that the FDP should look for people outside of Florida. If the FDP advertised that they were looking for an Executive Director, every top-notch Democratic ED around the nation, both past and present, would the lining up to take to take the job in the biggest swing state in all of politics. If Tant fired everyone, and then put out job placement ads for all the positions, the FDP would have the best, of the best, of the best, with honors! It could become the best Democratic Party in the nation. Still, you need a chair that has guts, and I think Tant has no guts whatsoever!!

      When I was with the Utah Democratic Party, there was a similar situation. During Howard Dean’s 50-state thing, he gave money to the Utah Dems to hire two additional staffers. I saw many of the resumes that were coming in and they were impressive. But they decided to go with two people in Utah, one of which was an absolutely embarrassment. If Utah can have high quality people apply to their jobs, then Florida definitely could!

      People might want to blame Ulvert, Arceneaux and all of those in the party, but it really comes down to Tant. Yes, these guys are going to keep giving jobs to their buddies. These guys are also going to keep polling with Hamilton Campaigns, which is one of the worst polling firms i have ever seen, and giving targeting business to Screven Watson and VancoreJones, which is an absolute joke of an organization with much more of a track record of failure than success. Again, if Tant had the guts, she would fire Ulvert, Arceneaux, cut off the unproductive vendors and start from scratch! Starting with nobody right now and building is a lot better than continuing with the same crap that has made Florida Democrats the laughing stock of national politics.

      And, on a final note, as someone who lives outside of Florida, and in one of the most blue states in the nation, Fla Dems considering Crist is making you guys look even more like a joke. You aren’t helping your image out in the real world!

  10. For the first time since I’ve been active in the party, there is a grassroots fundraising effort. Many of my friends have signed up to give monthly, low-dollar donations to the FDP.

    If anything is hurting the party in fundraising, it’s the misguided talk about nominating Charlie Crist. If you’re going to support a Republican, you might as well give to the GOP directly and save time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: