Sources: Darryl Rouson playing ball with Republicans potentially threatening Crist’s veto sustaining ability

As Florida’s Democrats are fighting hard throughout the state to elect Charlie Crist as Governor and keep the party’s numbers in the House above 1/3 of the body in order to prevent a veto-proof majority for the GOP, a dissident Democrat is quite possibly making alternative plans.

Rep. Darryl Rouson, whose ouster as Democratic House Leader Designee in September 2013 brought the more progressive and ultimately more likable Rep. Mark Pafford into the same position, continues to be a thorn in the side for only a handful of legislators. The reality is this change in leadership has proven to be completely unlike the 1997/1998 coup with which this move was compared by several critics. In that action, African-American then Rep. Willie Logan was ousted as Leader/Speaker-Designee and that ushered in a few years of black caucus cooperation with the House GOP majority. By contrast this change in leadership has done little to impact Democratic cohesion in the House. In fact, during this election cycle unlike in 1998 just about every House Democrat has been helpful to the party’s overall efforts.

Irrespective of the pronouncements of doom earlier a few months ago across the political community in Florida, Democrats are in fact holding their own in State House races.  Based on my extensive statewide travels for the Sheldon Campaign and my interaction with the Democratic House candidates and campaign operations, I believe that Tuesday’s election is likely to yield a Republican gain of 2 to 4 seats, not the 6 to 8 or even 8 to 10 that was projected by many pundits as recently as early last month. The Democrats impressive House campaign efforts have further solidified Pafford’s position as a strong leader that can take a largely united caucus through choppy water in the coming sessions.

Towards the end of the 2014 session and over the summer rumors swirled that Rep. Rouson  Rep. Rouson  had attempted to make the August primary victory of John Cortes in a Kissimmee-based Democratic primary over Pafford backer Rep. Ricardo Rangel an issue within the caucus by aggressively courting sitting members, but this effort failed to muster any support.

This week, multiple sources connected with Democratic members of the House indicated to TFS that Rouson was actively seeking to open lines of communications with incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli about either switching parties or working to create a faction of dissident Democrats that would collaborate with the GOP on floor actions where the House leadership need to clear 80 votes. Seemingly having failed to take full advantage of the opportunities to pick up a number of seats this election, the GOP leadership is wisely trying to exploit the bitterness of Rep. Rouson. Rouson who is term-limited in 2016 will not have to face reelection in his overwhelmingly Democratic House district.

Rep. Rouson’s St Petersburg based district has a history of term-limited party switchers having seen Rep. Rudy Bradley, an African-American switched from Democrat to Republican in 1999, and quickly trotted out as a token presence by the RPOF across the state. But if Rouson were to either switch his registration or try and create a faction of House Democrats to collaborate with the GOP he might have trouble running for future office if that is in fact his long-term plan.

The group backing Rouson is minimal in numbers. From 23 supporters in Feberuary 2013, Rouson’s hard support is now estimated to be in the middle single-digits at this point in time. Pafford’s efforts to protect Democratic incumbents have been acknowledged privately by previously skeptical members who were previously part of Rouson’s faction.

We will keep our readers posted on developments related to this important story.

19 comments

  1. Another sore loser. Rousing would fit right in with the GOP. If this is the path he chooses I hope Democrats remember this in the future.

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  2. Rouson is just a sore loser!

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  3. Jeff Clemens-why don’t you write about him and his help of Ellyn Bogdanoff to further kiss Latvala’s ass? If he has his way the Senate gets a Republican Supermajority. Jeff Clemens needs to have his blue card pulled ASAP.

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  4. concerned voter · ·

    The Clemens/Bogdanoff ties are well-established and clear. He’s burned himself with this one and I’m somewhat stunned the squeeze has yet to run an exposé on the issue.

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  5. Monster Man · ·

    Clemens/Latvala are trying to own Palm Beach politics. When Erica Whitfield and Melissa McKinlay (one qualified, one not) win on Tuesday Jeff is going to think he is the Prince of Palm Beach County. Certainly shows that the Aaronson/Fladell days are gone.

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  6. democrats on the ground · ·

    This is a big deal! Thanks for exposing this Kartik! I had heard rumors and speculation.

    As for Clemens/Latvala that’s true also. But Maria Sachs is winning this election. Clemens is nothing but trash trying to masquerade as a player.

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  7. democrats on the ground · ·

    Also Clemens has bullied and intimidated many activists and campaign workers. He needs to be reigned in and taught a lesson.

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  8. democrats on the ground · ·

    TFS needs to write about the Bogdanoff/Clemens/Latvala love fest.

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  9. Clemens should stick to his rock gigs. The guy is clueless as shit. Helping Ellyn was dumb, harrassing people regarding the Commission and School District race also hurt him. This is coming from a Melissa supporter. I hope someone runs against his ass. He is so shady that I need an umbrella…and can he please stop hitting on me all the time. Seriously that guy is so nasty…sorry buddy you are not hot.

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  10. I think Pafford will be fine. You just have to watch out for the many characters in the house including Rader…Rader and Clemens are part of the problem with PBC but they are too busy blaming others. Now Clemens thinks he is grooming people for office…dude have you seen the legislation he has sponsored and the shady shit he is doing with the Delray audits? He is just blaming Abruzzo for it. After Crist wins we can at least get new people in.

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    1. The observer · ·

      Do not forget in Palm Beach County every time you see Charlie, Burt is just behind him. you will not get new people, just more of the last 16 years.

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  11. A voice of reason · ·

    Rouson and Clemens are both scoundrels

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  12. […] BLOG POST OF THE DAY – DARRYL ROUSON PLAYING BALL WITH REPUBLICANS via The Florida Squeeze […]

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  13. OrlandoChris · ·

    IF YOU ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE CORRUPTION AND BEING LIED TO, VOTE FOR ADRIAN WYLLIE AND BILL WOHLSIFER.

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  14. Mandy@yahoo.com · ·

    Fladel is supporting Maria because she is a D, Clemens is supporting Bogdanoff because he was promised a chairmanship. The guy is more dumb than Bondi. Move on and lets do this Maria!

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  15. Clemens pretends to be a progressive…he is just obsessive..with himself and all the women he bothers. My hope is Crist wins and Maria. They both get someone to run againt him in a few years.

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  16. Ugh, Clemens. He is so gross…and such a clown.

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