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Rod Smith to announce Monday he wants to be new top Dem

by Dara Kam | November 12th, 2010

Former state Sen. Rod Smith will announce Monday he’s ready to take over the helm of the Florida Democratic Party as a replacement for Karen Thurman, who resigned today.

Smith, just off the campaign trail after running as Alex Sink’s running mate in her losing bid for governor, said he’s trying to build a consensus among Democrats smarting from major losses in this month’s elections in Florida and nationally.

Apart from Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s victory, Republicans swept the Florida Cabinet and nailed down a veto-proof super-majority in both the state House and Senate.

“I’m going to try to create a culture of success,” said Smith, a Gainesville lawyer and former prosecutor who earned a reputation as a dynamic orator during his tenure as a state senator.

Smith said he’s trying to get the support of a handful of other Democrats who’ve thrown their hats in the ring to replace Karen Thurman, who resigned today.

“I want to be a unifier. I don’t want to create division,” said Smith, a “This isn’t like a lot of campaigns. This is about trying to make sure that you first do no harm. Right now I’m focusing on trying to convince people that this is the right thing to do for me and for the party but I also remain open to listening to people’s concerns.”

Smith, who’s got behind-the-scenes backing of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, said he’s already won the support of Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel, who said Friday he’ll support Smith’s bid.

Whoever takes over for Thurman has their work cut out for them, said Broward County Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar.

“You don’t have the legislature. You don’t have the Cabinet. You don’t have the governor,” said Ceasar, also a one-time chairman of the FDP.

As in the past, Democrats also don’t have much of bench, either. But even that’s not their biggest problem, Ceasar said.

“We have to deal with the psychology of the voters today. Specifically, there was an enthusiasm gap. How do we bridge that and give Democrats and all voters hope or confidence that our solutions are the answer?
That’s a much bigger problem than a bench or a national election. It’s a huge task – for any individual or any party,” he said.

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11 Responses to “Rod Smith to announce Monday he wants to be new top Dem”

  1. Rod Smith is a retread Says:

    Rod Smith is not what the Florida Democratic Party needs. He is a DINO!

    A two time statewide looser that represents the old guard good old boys. If this is the best the Democrats have to offer we are in trouble! More of the same failed ideas. Isn’t there ANYONE ELSE?

  2. Be Nice Says:

    DINO? He’s a loser. Perfect fit for the Democrat Party leadership.

  3. Rod "Loser" Smith Says:

    Support Rod Smith because when he lost the Democratic primary in 2006 he decided to leave the state rather than campaign for Bill McBride.

    Support Rod Smith because when he was a State Senator he did a great job helping redistrict Florida so Republicans were guaranteed majorities in the state house and state senate.

    Support Rod Smith because he lost another statewide election in 2010.

    Support Rod Smith because he appeals to conservative, white, men….but he cannot get them to vote Democratic in November.

    For a guaranteed continuation of poor policy, worse strategy and continued defeats, election Rod Smith.

  4. WWMD? Says:

    Mitch Cesar needs to be out as the Broward chairman. Had he gotten out the vote in Broward County we could have won at least the Governors seat, and it also would have helped Ron Klein. Why is there no uproar about him staying in office…he’s been there forever and considering how poorly Dems performed in Broward I think some new leadership would be good.

  5. WWMD? Says:

    Agreed, Rod Smith has no business being party chairman.

    “Rod “Loser” Smith”: I think you meant Jim Davis in 2006, Bill McBride was 2002.

  6. unreal Says:

    What does he mean by support their policies? What policies? I didn’t ever hear Alex explain any policies. The campaign was full of accusations and no solutions.
    The tide had changed in america to one where americans want restraint discipline and a reduction in political corruption.
    Dems better learn that or they r doomed to be out of power for decades.
    Now we have a bunch of good ole boy republicans fully in control and they sure can’t b trusted

  7. hsr0601 Says:

    Title : The reps Will Stomp On Middle Class & Economy.
    The SHAMELESS reps’ principal : No principal & power-only !
    1. The reps’ campaign slogan, spending cut, has nothing to do with the deficit cut.
    The Bush tax cut for the wealthy will add an additional $700 billion to the deficit over a decade.
    Under the existing Bush tax cut for lavish bonus parties, a sole job plan for the republicans, the country already saw millions of job cuts.
    And hence it’s the right time to ask themselves as to how they can pay for it.
    As for the Democrats, sound investments = deficit increase.
    As for the reps, empty giveaway policy = SHAMELESS top priority.
    2. Over the duration of healthcare debate, using the preliminary cost analysis of CBO, the reps opposed the public option stubbornly, but after the release of final score, they have been defiant on the referee.
    Inaction cost in relation to health care reform totals $9trillion over the next decade.
    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that reform will reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years and as much as $1 trillion during the following decade
    3. In view of Medicare & Social Security :
    “Don’t Let Government Touch Your Medicare & Social Security”
    “We will instead Stomp On Your Medicare & Social Security”
    4. Jobs ahead in another Bush era ( = Entire Downfall ) ??
    I think D.S. is going to realize vividly how Bush era wrecked economy.

  8. Ira of WPB Says:

    All of you complain and complain. This one is no good. That one is no good. Instead of complaining in this forum, why don’t you come up with some ideas to help rebuild the Florida Democratic Party? It is easy to criticise, but harder to suggest concrete ideas for improvement.

  9. A Democrat who served Says:

    Rod Smith is the perfect leader for the democratic party. I served with him in the legislature and know him to be a fierce fighter for democratic values, and a terrific spokesperson and fund raiser. I also served as state committee woman for the miami dade democratic party for 4 years(04-08)so I foolishly spemnt too much time and energy on a Party apparatus that was broken. I was also given the title only- no real responsibility attached, of State campaign chair,and worked with many party activists throughout the state who were begging for reform, capacity building and accountability by the state party structure. It never happened under Thurman. If Rod Smith can be a true head coach, establish new state party bylaws that demand accountability and clean house from top down, we would have a real chance to rebuild. The top 6 posts are why the democratic party is so deflated- no one wants to work, they just come to bitch.

  10. A Democrat who served after you Says:

    To “A Democrat who served”:

    You are completely right. A number of people that have served a long time in the party are what is bringing it down. And, unfortunately, with the weighted vote system, they remain relevant. Although I don’t disagree with weighted voting, the unintended consequence is that these people are given preferential treatment for their votes. A cleaning from top to bottom would be a great first start. Karen Thurman needed to go.

  11. Omar Runfola Says:

    I just located your blog, I actually bookmarked it and i ‘m looking through the discussions. I already enjoy it. Interesting issue no matter what people look on this. I come from this viewpoint that will observe comments as akin of listening.

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