Screenshot, Florida Democratic Party, July 15, 2022.
The field for a new chair for the Florida Democratic Party has narrowed, following the announcement that Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has dropped out of the contest.
Matlow was the first Democrat to announce his candidacy earlier this month, just hours after former party chair Manny Diaz announced that he was stepping down following one of the worst performances by the Florida Democratic Party in recent history.
But in a text statement issued on Wednesday, Matlow said that “alarming revelations” in Tallahassee since his initial announcement required his “undivided focus during the coming weeks.” Matlow did not elaborate about those revelations.
In addition, “Florida voters need a viable alternative to one-party rule which has led to extreme policies and special interest capture of state institutions,” he wrote in the text message sent to the Phoenix. “I stand ready to help in the future with all those working to reform FDP and our important state.”
Matlow is a small business owner in Tallahassee who was decisively reelected to the City Commission last August.
There are now three candidates in the race for Florida Democratic Party chair: former Miami-Dade County state Sen. Annette Taddeo, Broward County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Rick Hoye and political consultant Alex Berrios. Matlow said he is not endorsing anyone at this time, according to his city commissioner aide.
Taddeo is the best known of the group. She won a special election to the Florida Senate in 2017, and served there until she completed her term in 2022, when she declared her candidacy for governor. After dropping out of that race in 2022, she then ran and lost in a bid for Congress last November in South Florida to Republican incumbent Maria Elvira Salazar.
Hoye is the first Black elected chair of the Broward Democratic Party. He’s a social studies and American history teacher with ties to organized labor.
Berrios is a South Florida native who founded Mi Vecino, an organization dedicated to registering voters, with an emphasis on bringing more Latino voters into the political process.
Florida Democrats are expected to vote for its new leader when it convenes at a party event in Orlando in late February.
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