After Florida Democrats suffered historic losses in November, the state party’s embattled chairman resigned Monday despite months of disavowals that he would quit.
Manny Diaz, the former mayor of Miami, blamed the 2022 defeats on a host of historic, funding and organizational issues that he outlined in a 2,500-word resignation letter to party leaders. Diaz was short on owning up to his own shortcomings as party chair, but he did take a swipe at activists, party members and even a local union, saying they did not do enough to help register voters or turn out the vote in November.
“We have plenty of social media activists, not roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers. We communicate virtually, not personally,” Diaz wrote.
“Note our experience with a municipal election in 2021. Our Municipal Victory Program targeted a city council race in Jacksonville,” Diaz continued. “As Election Day approached, I learned that our collective bargaining agreement prevented our staff from working on the Monday before Election Day. My offer to trade for one or two replacement days later in the year was rejected. Imagine not being required to work the day before Election Day. These are simply ‘jobs.’ Our job should be to elect Democrats.”
Many Florida Democrats considered Diaz a lackluster and unengaged chair, and some called for him to resign before the November elections, when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won by a nearly 20-percentage-point margin — a record — and even carried traditionally Democratic Miami-Dade County, where Diaz lives.
On election night, NBC News reported that Diaz was considering resigning, but days later he disputed that account and continued to issue denials, until he submitted his resignation letter.
Thomas Kennedy, a Democratic National Committee member from Miami-Dade County who had long sought Diaz’s resignation, welcomed the news.
“Florida Democrats can turn things around but it will take a long term plan, cohesive economic messaging that appeals to working people, year round voter registration, permanent offices offering tangible services to community members and electing down-ballot candidates to build a bench,” Kennedy said in a statement to NBC News. “Let’s elect a new chair and do the work.”
Diaz’s resignation letter, however, paints a bleak picture of the state of the Democratic Party in Florida if it doesn’t get more money, volunteers and voters needed to win races.
“Without funding or volunteers, we must spend our limited money on paid canvassers to replace volunteers who used to work for country and party,” Diaz wrote. “We have created an industry of workers who surface every two years and work mostly for the money and the benefits, not for a cause. It has become a job, like any other job. We create jobs- we do not recruit field soldiers committed to a cause.”