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Mark Alan Siegel’

Former Dem chair who said Christians want Jews ‘slaughtered’ draws foe in comeback bid

Monday, November 12th, 2012 by George Bennett

Former Palm Beach County Democratic chairman Mark Alan Siegel, who was pressed to resign by Florida Democratic leaders in September after a videotaped rant against pro-Israel Christians, will attempt a return to party leadership next month.

Siegel plans to run for the county Democratic Party’s state committeeman position. The state committeeman, state committeewoman and party chair represent the county on state Democratic Party issues.

Democratic Executive Committee member Mike Rios said today that he will also run for state committeeman. Rios is head of the Puerto Rican/ USA Hispanic Democratic Club and lost a state House primary this year.

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More damage control: Siegel spurns resignation call, will take indefinite leave for anti-Christian rant

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 by George Bennett

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel has rejected a call from Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith to resign over Siegel’s statement that fundamentalist Christians want to see Jews “slaughtered.”

Siegel instead will take an “indefinite leave of absence,” Smith said after huddling with Siegel and Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon and state Rep. Lori Berman for about an hour this morning at the Florida delegation hotel.

“Today I asked for Mark Alan Siegel’s resignation. He has declined. He is embarrassed and humiliated by his inappropriate comments and has requested an indefinite leave of absence, which I have granted. Effective immediately he has been removed from his responsibilities,” Smith said in a statement. “We condemn in the strongest possible manner his comments which are not reflective of the Democratic Party.”

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Damage control: Palm Beach County Dem chair apologizes for anti-Christian rant

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 by George Bennett

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel issued an apology this morning for his remarks last night that fundamentalist Christians want to see Jews “slaughtered.”

Here’s Siegel’s statement:

“I apologize to all Democrats and Floridians for my ill chosen words last night. After watching the interview I realize that what I said did not accurately make the point I was trying to establish. More importantly I apologize to all Christians, Jews and other people of faith for any embarrassment or anger my remarks may have caused. Throughout my life I have practiced religious tolerance among all people of faith. I am sincerely sorry for any remarks I made that may have diminished that record. I alone am responsible for my remarks and I pray that they are not taken as the position of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.”

Palm Beach County Dem chair: Fundamentalist Christians want Jews ‘slaughtered’

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 by George Bennett

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In an interview posted on the conservative Breitbart site, Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel says Jews shouldn’t trust pro-Israel Christians.

“The Christians just want us to be there so we can be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ,” Siegel said while attending the Democratic National Convention. “The worst possible allies for the Jewish state are the fundamentalist Christians who want Jews to die and convert so they can bring on the second coming of their Lord. It is a false friendship. They are seeking their own ends and not ours.”

Some Dems fret about ‘heartbreaking’ McAuliffe-Aronberg primary

Monday, November 21st, 2011 by George Bennett

Former state Sen. Dave Aronberg says he’s still doing some “due diligence” before deciding whether to challenge Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe in a 2012 Democratic primary.

McAuliffe’s consultant says he expects Aronberg to run, while many party bigs say they are hoping to avoid a primary that county Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel says would be “heartbreaking.”

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Dem boss shrugs at Aaronson’s call for jailing Republicans, says Obama foes unlike anti-Bush crowd

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 by George Bennett

Siegel

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel says County Commissioner Burt Aaronson‘s recent call for Republicans to be thrown in jail for opposing President Obama‘s agenda was harmless rhetoric.

“People are allowed flights of political metaphor,” Siegel said Wednesday outside the Kravis Center, where about 80 Democratic and union activists protested Texas Gov. Rick Perry‘s appearance for a fundraiser.

PostOnPolitics asked Siegel if he would have had the same reaction a few years ago if a Republican elected official had suggested that opponents of George W. Bush be sent to the hoosegow.

Siegel rejected any parallel.

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Shouts and storm-outs as county Democrats discuss censuring Aaronson, Sachs, Vana

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 by George Bennett

After more than an hour of heated discussion, the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee voted to send a “brisk” letter of disapproval to Democrats (from left) Aaronson, Sachs and Vana for endorsing Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race.

Carole Pollack was inducted as a Palm Beach County Democratic precinct captain Thursday night. Less than two hours later, after listening to party members shout each other down and seeing several walk out in protest, Pollack herself was storming out of a Democratic Executive Committee meeting in West Delray saying she might never return.

Pollack witnessed an intramural Democratic bloodbath over whether the party should take action against Democratic County Commissioners Burt Aaronson and Shelley Vana and state Sen. Maria Sachs for bucking the party and endorsing Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist in the Nov. 2 U.S. Senate race.

Committee members who stayed to the bitter end rejected a motion to censure the elected officials but voted to authorize a committee to send a “brisk” letter telling them of their disapproval.

Pollack didn’t stick around for the final vote.

“This is the first time I’ve been here. I’m not sure that it won’t be the last. I’m very upset by what I’m seeing here,” she told the party activists who met at Temple Emeth.

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Siegel steps aside (again), endorses Rod Smith for Fla. Democratic chairman

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel is giving up his pursuit of the Florida Democratic Party chairmanship and endorsing former state Sen. Rod Smith, who on Tuesday announced the support of Sen. Bill Nelson and some other big-name Dems.

“Rod Smith has set the stage for our rebirth as a modern, inclusive grassroots party which can fulfill the hopes and dreams of its many dedicated workers and constituencies,” Siegel said in a statement released by Smith.

Smith’s main rival for the job now appears to be Tallahassee City Commissioner and People For the American Way Foundation operative Andrew Gillum, who anticipated Siegel’s endorsement this morning and downplayed its significance.

“This race is about more than doing whatever it takes to seal one or two endorsements, it’s about giving the Florida Democratic Party the fresh start we need to win elections,” Gillum said. “I respect the senior members of our party, but I believe that we are in a new era that demands an open process that will energize our base.”

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Nelson, Hastings among big-name Dems backing Rod Smith for chairman

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 by George Bennett

Smith

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar and U.S. Rep.-elect Frederica Wilson of Miami are among the big-name Dems who are backing former state Sen. Rod Smith for Florida Democratic Party chairman, Smith announced today.

Smith, Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel, Hillsborough County Democratic Committeeman Alan Clendenin and Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum are running for state chairman. The election is expected in January.

Read Smith’s full press release after the jump…

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Rod Smith new Dem chief? ‘I believe I’ll be the appointee’

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Despite grumblings from Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel to the contrary, former state Sen. Rod Smith insists he’ll be the next state party chairman.

“I believe I’ll be the appointee,” said Smith, a Gainesville-area former prosecutor who most recently was Alex Sink’s running-mate in her losing bid for governor.

His bid to replace Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman, who is retiring, got a boost yesterday when an officer of the Alachua County party stepped down to make room for Smith.

Smith would have to be elected the chairman of the county executive committee or state committee man before he can be eligible to run as head of the FDP.

Once that happens, Smith said he’ll continue to build support from activists, donors and other county leaders.

“It’s a process that’s ongoing. It sometimes appears slow and ponderous but it’s an important process that allows people to have input about their concerns,” Smith, 61, said.

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Palm Beach County Dem Chair Siegel says he’s back in the mix for state chairman

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 by George Bennett

Siegel

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel last week was ready to stand aside for former state Sen. Rod Smith in the race for state Democratic chairman.

But with Smith no longer seen as the slam dunk he appeared to be for a couple days last week, Siegel today says he’s all in.

“I think I’m a very viable candidate,” said Siegel, who must win reelection to his county chairmanship on Dec. 2 to be eligible for the state post.

What’s changed since last week?

“I became convinced that I really have something to offer that’s different than he does. It seems that, regrettably, his candidacy is kind of stalling. That hasn’t diminished my admiration for him at all,” Siegel said.

Palm Beach County Dem chair ‘interested’ in state post if Thurman leaves

Thursday, November 4th, 2010 by George Bennett

Siegel

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel denounced Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring and others calling for Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman’s resignation after Tuesday’s electoral bloodbath.

But if Thurman decides to step down in the middle of her four-year term, Siegel says he’s interested in her job.

“If she does retire, yes, I’m interested,” Siegel said.

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Some Dems attend lunch despite union picket; party chair says it’s ‘something we’re going to talk about’

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 by George Bennett

Democratic Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek followed independent rival Charlie Crist’s lead and decided not to cross a stagehands union picket line to attend today’s Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch at the Kravis Center. Meek joined picketers outside the event for awhile, as did Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel.

But other Democrats attended the Forum Club lunch. Find out who after the jump…

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Democratic chairman: ‘We believe it’s our seat’ — or maybe not

Monday, June 14th, 2010 by George Bennett

The deadline for candidates to qualify for the 2010 ballot in state and local races — from the governorship to the Jupiter Inlet Commission board — is Friday at noon.

Democrats don’t have a candidate in Palm Beach County Commission District 4 to challenge Republican Steven Abrams, despite a slight Democratic registration edge in the district and county Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel’s declaration last year that “we believe it’s our seat.”

Siegel now says Abrams is a pretty decent guy for a Republican.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

After nailing primary numbers, Dem Chairman Siegel predicts ‘mid-60s’ for Deutch in Palm Beach County

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel, who early on the night of the Feb. 2 Democratic primary forecast “upwards of 80 percent” for Ted Deutch (he got 85.2 percent), is predicting Deutch will get more than 60 percent of the vote in Palm Beach County in today’s special general election.

“The forecast is mid-60s….63, 64 something like that,” said Siegel, who based his forecast on Democratic turnout at key precincts in Palm Beach County. He predicted a slightly lower percentage for Deutch in Broward County, which is about 30 percent of congressional District 19.

Former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler never got below 65.6 percent in a general election in the district. Wexler stepped down in January to head a Middle East think tank.

Dem dinner drama: still no keynoter for Saturday; chairman says Gore’s Boca gig not a damper

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County’s Democratic Party remains without a keynote speaker for Saturday’s annual fund-raising dinner after one headliner was dropped and another withdrew last week.

“We’re still hoping to get an out-of-town keynoter,” county Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel said this morning. But, he said, “you can have a dinner without a speaker.”

The Dems’ $150-and-up dinner at the Palm Beach County Convention Center is on the same night as a “Going Green” lecture at Mizner Park in Boca Raton by former Vice President Al Gore, with tickets ranging from $44.10 to $339.

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Kucinich withdraws as Palm Beach County Democratic keynoter amid uproar over his Israel stance

Friday, November 6th, 2009 by George Bennett

Kucinich

Kucinich

With some local Democratic elected officials in open revolt over his record on Israel, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has withdrawn as keynote speaker for next week’s Palm Beach County Democratic Party fund-raising dinner.

He’s the second Democratic keynoter to be scratched this week. The party dumped Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu on Tuesday because local activists were upset by her refusal to commit to blocking a Republican filibuster of health care overhaul legislation.

After Kucinich was announced as the replacement speaker, state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, threatened a boycott and state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, County Commissioner Burt Aaronson and state Rep. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, voiced disapproval today.

Kucinich has a long history of criticizing the actions of the Israeli government, voting against congressional resolutions in support of Israel and opposing sanctions against the anti-Israel government of Iran.

His critics have “falsely characterized” those stances as being anti-Israel, Kucinich said this afternoon in an e-mail to Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel. While defending his position, Kucinich said he didn’t want the controversy to hurt the local party’s money-raising efforts.

Read his complete statement to Siegel after the jump….

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Democratic dinner brouhaha escalates as health care skeptic Landrieu replaced by Israel critic Kucinich

Friday, November 6th, 2009 by George Bennett

More trouble for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fund-raising dinner.

Its original Jefferson-Jackson name was dropped because of qualms about Thomas Jefferson’s slave ownership and Andrew Jackson’s Indian-removal policies. Then the renamed Truman-Kennedy-Johnson dinner’s planned keynote speaker, moderate Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, was unceremoniously dumped this week because party leaders disliked Landrieu’s stance on health care reform.

Now Landrieu’s replacement — liberal U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Denis Kucinich, D-Ohio — is prompting a boycott threat from state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, because of Kucinich’s voting record on Israel.

State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, has announced he won’t attend or support the event, calling Kucinich “someone whose position on Israel stands in total opposition to the conscience of this community.”

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Palm Beach County Dems’ dumping of health care skeptic Landrieu “news to us,” her office says

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 by George Bennett

As noted this morning, Palm Beach County’s Democratic Party has dumped moderate Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu as its keynote speaker for next week’s annual fund-raising dinner because party activists are displeased with Landrieu’s stance on health care.

Landrieu says she’s “very skeptical about a government-run national option” and won’t commit to voting to cut off a Republican filibuster to force a vote on Democratic health care legislation.

County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel announced the dis-invitation of Landrieu this morning.

“This is news to us,” Landrieu spokesman Robert Sawicki said in an e-mail this afternoon. “Sen. Landrieu agreed to do this event as a favor to Palm Beach Democrats, and no one from the Palm Beach Democratic Party has notified us about a change in plans for the dinner.”

Louisiana Sen. Landrieu out as Democratic keynoter; locals disliked her stance on health care cloture

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Landrieu

Landrieu

Democratic Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is out as keynote speaker for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fund-raising dinner next week because party leaders dislike her stance on health care reform, county Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel said today.

Landrieu, a moderate who recently described herself as “extremely concerned about a government-run, taxpayer-funded, national public plan,” has not committed to voting to cut off a likely Republican filibuster and forcing a vote on the legislation.

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