From the Chair’s Desk — Your Weekly Update

17 mins read

Dear Florida Democrats,

We all were thrown an unbelievable, life-changing curveball this month and are continuing to adapt to the current crisis. Our paramount concern is the well-being of all of you and our staff across the state. We cannot put a large, strong team on the field this fall if we push people to expose themselves to the emerging COVID-19 threat. The FDP is following all recommended guidelines as announced this past week, and we urge everyone to monitor recommendations from reliable health agencies and follow best practices for minimizing exposure. We know information and recommendations are changing daily, and we will get updates to you as quickly as possible. Please see our COVID-19 Updates section below for more information.

However, we say we are going to defeat Trump in Florida, and we mean it. In 2019, we grew our voter registration edge over Republicans and have surpassed 5 million registered Democrats for the first time in history. Working with your amazing teams and our staff of over 100 campaign professionals, we mobilized more than 12,000 volunteers to complete over 40,000 volunteer shifts. On Tuesday, we saw our efforts to expand voter registrations and vote by mail enrollments result in Florida Democrats voting in higher numbers than in the 2016 Primary, despite the incredible circumstances. While we are adjusting our strategies to meet the current situation, we aren’t stopping until we take back our state and make Donald Trump a one-term President.

We know all of you are with us in these efforts, and we will get through this together!

As of Saturday, March 21, there are exactly 227 days — 7 months, 15 days — to November 3, 2020.

Terrie Rizzo
Florida Democratic Party

COVID-19 Updates

We share the concerns of our fellow Floridians and the entire country and join with our communities to work to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have implemented new policies and procedures that follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Florida Department of Health to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, and the public and are continuing to monitor the situation.
On Monday, we sent out guidelines the FDP will be following going forward. You can see that notice here. We will NOT stop campaigning but are changing the nature of our campaign efforts in light of the public health reality. This election is as critical as any in our lifetimes, and we are committed to electing Democrats in the state and defeating Donald Trump in 2020. We have shifted all campaign organizing efforts from in-person work to virtual work, and we encourage our DECs, Caucuses, Clubs and campaigns to do the same. We are updating and expanding online training for digital and online organizing. As we prepare to roll these new training opportunities out, encourage your volunteers to enroll in FDP University by emailing their name, county, and Party role to


In order to limit risk to our Party leaders and protect the health of our guests and staff, we have postponed the following events:

  • March 27-29 DCCA Retreat in Jacksonville. For those who made arrangements to stay at the DoubleTree Jacksonville Riverfront for the DCCA Retreat, please contact the hotel directly at 1-800-222-8733 for reservation cancellation. We are working to reschedule DCCA as soon as it’s feasible to do so.
  • April 4 Congressional District Caucuses and April 2 Early Voting have been rescheduled, with DNC approval, for May 16, with Early Voting on May 14.

Following guidance from health officials, we recommend postponing and not attending events through at least mid-April. We also recommend all DECs, clubs and caucuses move meetings to teleconference and videoconference if possible. If that is not possible, meetings should implement social distancing, be limited to essential business and be conducted swiftly.
We know many major county and caucus events have been postponed because of coronavirus concerns. As you are able to reschedule these events, please send updates to so we can place them on the Party Calendar to help avoid as many conflicts as possible.
We are receiving questions regarding plans for Leadership Blue, currently scheduled for May 29-31. We are working on contingency plans for events scheduled beyond March and will update you as soon as decisions are made.

Presidential Preference Primary Election Results

Even with coronavirus, Florida Democrats had remarkable results and voted in higher numbers in this election than in the 2016 Primary! With absentee and overseas ballots still to come in, a record 1,734,701 Democrats voted for a presidential candidate compared with 1,709,183 in 2016.

  • Early voting increased by 74,031 more Democratic voters than in 2016
  • Vote by mail increased by 170,420 over 2016, and that number will increase as overseas ballots continue to come in

These increases are proof positive how energized and committed Florida Democrats are to defeating Donald Trump in 2020.

But Tuesday wasn’t all about the Presidential Primary. The FDP Municipal Victory Program and county DECs focused on local races, too! We won 34 elections in 22 municipalities across 9 counties, and 10 of our victories flipped seats from Red to Blue! Our efforts to win locally advances Democratic policies and builds a bench of candidates to run for higher office. Congratulations to our amazing volunteers and Party leaders who helped elect these Democrats in your counties! 

Counties where Democrats won: Alachua, Broward, Lee, Madison, Marion, Okaloosa, Orange, Palm Beach, and Pinellas.

Digital Actions to Take Today

While our top priority is for everyone to stay safe during this pandemic, our work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot is still urgent. We know a lot of people are home and looking for meaningful activities. Be proactive and help people join our digital organizing movement! Here are steps you can take and share to support our organizers and our mission while practicing social distancing:

Democratic National Convention

Applications for our 81 Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO), At-Large, and At-Large Alternate delegate spots remain available on our website through May 5.

In an abundance of caution for our Democratic volunteers and voters, we have received DNC approval to amend our Delegate Selection Plan and reschedule Congressional district caucuses for May 16, with early voting on May 14. Our Congressional District (CD) Chairs are working to confirm locations. We will share the updated caucus locations once they are confirmed in mid-April. We will continue to closely monitor federal and state advisories as they relate to COVID-19. Updated information on delegate selection events will be shared via email and posted to

As per our Delegate Selection Plan, the Presidential candidates eligible for delegates are reviewing the list of district-level delegate applicants and will return their approved list of delegate candidates to us by 5 p.m. March 27. Once we receive those lists, we will share delegate candidate names for each Congressional district.

Here are some helpful documents for delegate candidates:

Hosting Remote Meetings

Here are tools to help your organizations meet remotely:

Zoom Zoom is a conference call tool that allows you to host video and phone conference calls. You can share your screen and utilize the raise your hand feature for those who have questions.

Pro Tip: Zoom has both free and paid versions. In the free version, you can host phone and video conference calls, but you can only host 40 minute meetings for up to 100 people.

Skype Skype offers free conference calls. You will be able to generate a link to share with your participants.
Pro Tip: Skype allows you to record your meeting and store it for up to 30 days.

Google Hangouts Google Hangouts offers free group conversations for up to 150 people or video calls for up to 10 people. You can share a link with attendees or invite them by their contact information.
Pro Tip: Hangouts works best on Chrome or Safari browsers.

Free Conference Call FreeConferenceCall.Com offers a conference call line including dial-in number and access code 24 hours a day. It allows up to 1,000 callers and includes recording options.
Pro Tip: Some phone carriers may apply standard charges.

Fried’s School Lunch Program for Displaced Students

With all K-12 schools closed through April 15, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will provide meals to students. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said “For millions of Florida’s children, school meals are the only meals they can count on. We are working closely with school districts to ensure that students have access to healthy, nutritious meals while schools are closed due to COVID-19.”
Families can find free meals for children under 18 by locating a BreakSpot at As of March 15, there are 934 active BreakSpot sites statewide.
Read More: Nikki Fried opens school lunch program for students out of school

2020 Census

The 2020 Census is now available and can be completed online, by mail, or by phone. The U.S. Census determines everything from your representation in Congress to the federal resources allocated to support your area, and it’s critical that every household completes it. Please spread the word about the importance of the decennial census and ensuring every resident is counted.

Democracia al Día

We have launched our Spanish-language radio show “Democracia al Día” in the Orlando and Kissimmee area! The program is moderated by Puerto Rican activist Marcos Vilar and broadcasts every Saturday at 11 a.m. on Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM.
Democracia al Día continues to air on 1040 AM in Miami at noon each Saturday.
The program features community leaders and local elected officials speaking on issues important to the community such as healthcare, the economy, voting protection, the work of Democratic leaders, and the failed policies of the Donald Trump administration to the Hispanic community.

DNC Chair Tom Perez Visit

On March 9, DNC Chair Tom Perez visited Broward County, joining FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo and Broward DEC Chair Cynthia Busch for a voter registration kickoff event in Oakland Park. They spoke about the clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans on issues that matter to Floridians and highlighted the Trump administration’s broken promises to Floridians on issues like health care, the environment, and gun safety. See news coverage of the press conference here:

Voter Registration

As of Thursday, March 19, we have registered 52,783 voters since 2019. We are focusing on strategic registration, with the bulk of our registrations occurring in swing legislative districts. We have already registered enough voters to offset our 2018 margin of defeat in four state House seats! Take a look at our stats:

Fight for Health Care Tour

We continue to hold Trump accountable for his three years of failed health care policies, contrasting the president’s repeated attempts to reduce access to care with the Democratic agenda to expand affordable, accessible health care. Our Fight for Health Care Tour included a billboard at the intersection of Kirkman Rd. and International Dr. in Orlando, contrasting the Trump and Democratic health care agendas, and a series of healthcare roundtable discussions along the I-4 Corridor. The billboard was in English and Spanish and ran March 9-15.

Roundtable discussions were held in Tampa and Lakeland on March 12. Chair Terrie Rizzo and local health care stakeholders, including medical professionals, community leaders, and patients with pre-existing conditions discussed how Trump’s failed health care policies negatively impact Floridians personally and why it is critical to elect a president serious about achieving affordable, accessible health care. Watch the Roundtable discussions here:

The roundtable discussions in DeLand and Orlando were postponed.Sign and share our petition to show you are voting to protect our health care in November.

Voter Protection

FDP’s Voter Protection Program is a voting rights program that works to ensure everyone who has the right to vote and who wants to vote can have their vote counted.
Help us reach our goal of having an army of 15,000 trained volunteers working at polling places across the state in November.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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