Florida Politics: More Democratic state lawmakers endorse Manny Diaz for party chief

Gary Farmer, Kionne McGhee, Arthenia Joyner among 24 newly-announced supporters.

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz rolled out two dozen more endorsements Thursday for his bid to become the next Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, including Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer and former Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner.

The group of current and former lawmakers, including several who’ve moved to county offices, come from North, Central and South Florida.

“Florida Democrats work around the clock for our constituents and to improve the lives of Florida families, and we need to make the investments, start the work now, to ensure we elect more Democrats in Tallahassee and local offices across this state who will fight for the people, which means strong leadership at the Florida Democratic Party to steer this ship — that’s Manny Diaz,” Farmer, of Fort Lauderdale, stated in a news release issued Thursday by Diaz’s campaign. “Manny not only has a record of getting things done, he has decades of experience in political campaigns, organizing and leadership that we need to rebuild, strengthen and energize the Florida Democratic Party.”

Also on Thursday, Hillsborough County Democratic Party Chair Ione Townsend became the fourth candidate to officially declare a candidacy for the job.  Cynthia Moore Chestnut, who leads the Alachua County Democratic Party, and Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida Chair Janelle Christensen also are in. Nikki Barnes, who has served as a Democratic National Committee member, is also eyeing the job. Current FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo is not seeking reelection.

Diaz’s other new endorsements include Sen. Bobby Powell, Reps. Kristen ArringtonRobin BartlemanJames Bush IIIJoe CaselloKevin ChamblissMichael GottliebMichael GreicoOmari HardyDiane HartPatricia Hawkins-WilliamsChristine HunschofskyAnika OmphroyFelicia RobinsonEmily SlosbergMarie Woodson, and former Reps. Joyce CusackMia Jones, and Cindy Lerner, as well as Miami-Dade County Commissioner and former House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee, Palm Beach County Tax Collector and former Rep. Ann Gannon and Orange County Tax Collector and former Rep. Scott Randolph.

“I am supporting Manny Diaz to be the next FDP chair because he understands the work that needs to be done for us to elect Democrats and protect and uplift out communities. Manny will be focused, strategic, and do the collaborative work year round to win elections across the state,”  Joyner said. “Elections have consequences and what so many families in our communities are experiencing right now — losing loved ones, losing jobs — are the consequences. I’m excited about the potential of the Florida Democratic Party under Manny’s leadership. He’s a proven leader that understands and values the role that African-Americans play in the Democratic Party and is committed to ensuring his leadership team, party outreach and resource decisions will reflect that.”

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