Normally, the political map colors Democrats blue, but in the case of Florida’s Democrats, the dominant color is red, as in the sea of red ink in which the party finds itself.
A Federal Election Commission report filed by the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida shows that the party ended 2020 with $60,930.99 in cash on hand, and $868,599.74 in debts.
Debts were such that as November ended, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida canceled health insurance for party staff, according to Florida Politics.
“I’m f—ing livid,” said Tania Ingram, the party’s former deputy training director, who spoke to Politico before the party assured staffers insurance would be reinstated.
“I’ve taken action like calling elected officials, party chairs. I have called party leaders. I have reached out to [party headquarters in] Miami to raise money for these people who now have bills piling up. I’ve heard nothing,” she said.
“The party is in a lot of trouble. … They are a hot mess.”
Newly named Democratic Party Chair Manny A. Diaz told Florida Politics that “I knew going in that things were going to be bad. I just didn’t think they were this bad.”
“I did not expect to inherit what I am inheriting. Hey, that’s what I was dealt,” Diaz said.
He told Politico that the decision not to keep up the health insurance was “both mismanagement and inhumane.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield is owed more than $500,000.
Former party leader Terrie Rizzo blamed a mix-up for the cancellation.
“It’s important to know that the insurance was never cancelled — by me or any of the past leadership team,” she said in a statement. “The party had the funds to pay the November health insurance bill, we paid it, and I have only recently been told that there was a delay in the check being applied, but the insurance provider is sending out a letter explaining that all policies will be honored and the January report will reflect that.”
As Democrats struggle, Florida Republicans are sitting on about $5.8 million in cash, according to Florida Politics.
The next major election in Florida, where former President Donald Trump defeated President Joe Biden last year, is less than two years away, with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis expected to run for re-election in 2022, as is Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Diaz, a former mayor of Miami, said the party will right its ship.
“I had to downsize. I had to stabilize the patient, who was bleeding considerably. And if you don’t do that, you can’t survive,” Diaz said. “That’s what I’ve been focused on. That’s what I’ve been working on the past three weeks. But we will clean this up.”
In an attempt last year to deal with shaky finances, Florida Democrats sought and received $815,641 through the Paycheck Protection Program, but gave back the money amid the optics of a political party accepting cash while businesses could not get loans.
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