From the Chair’s Desk — Your Weekly Update

17 mins read

Dear Florida Democrats,

Democrats and friends celebrated Passover and Easter this past week amidst unprecedented circumstances, and we hope all our Democratic family who observed had a very happy Holy Week. Although our celebrations may have been smaller or done differently this year as we coped with the current circumstances and social distancing, hopefully you and your loved ones were able to find joy in reflecting on happy times… past and still to come.

During this time when so many are struggling, it may be hard to celebrate politics. But i’ts very important to note we have scored some important victories recently. One major win is for Florida’s college students, who will once again be able to early vote on their campuses — something we’ve been fighting for in court for the past two years. Another court win is that the Secretary of State now must have a plan in place by June 1 on how candidates will be ordered on the General Election ballot, rather than wait for the appeals court decision. And, in a huge win this past Tuesday, the federal ruling that said returning citizens cannot be denied the right to vote if they are unable to pay their outstanding court debts has been expanded to include all returning citizens, not just the 17 original plaintiffs.

Last summer when we began building our 2020 campaign infrastructure, we had a historically large and diverse field of Democratic presidential candidates, any of whom would be better than the current occupant of the White House. Our fantastic candidates built grassroots enthusiasm and showed Americans that Democrats are the ones fighting for them. The Democratic primary has made our Party stronger and more prepared to take on Donald Trump in the general election. Today, FDP has more than 100 staff and 15,000 volunteers who are trained and ready to defeat Donald Trump. We will do everything we can to help our presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, win Florida.

May we all look forward to blessings of joy, peace and hope for the days ahead. We are all in this together.

As of Monday, April 13, there are exactly 204 days — 6 months and 23 days — to November 3, 2020.

Terrie Rizzo
Florida Democratic Party

Polk County Municipal Victories

Polk County held municipal elections Tuesday and Democrats had some big wins! Congratulations to Polk DEC Chair Kathie Sutherland, Polk Democrats, and our Democratic candidates:
Morris West, Haines City Commissioner Seat #3
Claude Holmes II, Haines City Commissioner Seat #4, defeating the state’s longest-serving Republican — a 29-year incumbent commissioner
Robin Gibson, Lake Wales City Commissioner Seat #5
Terrye Howell, Lake Wales City Commissioner Seat #3
Linda Dolan, Mulberry City Commissioner Seat #3

Issue ID Phonebanks

With a new focus on digital outreach to voters, it’s more important than ever that our messaging is deployed effectively. In order to better target voters online, we’ve developed Issue ID virtual phonebanks for each county, easily found on our website:


The Issue IDs are needed to help us identify the issues most important to persuadable NPA voters in your county. These phonebanks will allow us to engage our volunteers while face-to-face voter contact is unsafe, and will define county specific messaging to move persuadable voters in each county.

We need to make at least 40,000 calls to collect enough data to create content and scripts that will persuade NPA voters to vote for Democrats. This week our calls resulted in 503 issue IDs!

Need help convincing your volunteers that phonebanking can be fun? Share our Virtual Phonebank Bingo card!

Training Resources

In addition to our FDP University training opportunities, FDP has the following live webinars for our volunteers, Party leaders, and candidates:

  • Thursday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. ET Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers: Learn how to digitally recruit volunteers for voter contact efforts. We will also review strategies to retain volunteers once they have completed a volunteer shift.
  • Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. ET Municipal Victory Candidate Overview Webinar: Join the Florida Democratic Party for our first Campaign Blueprint webinar. We will spend time talking about fundraising, messaging, and voter contact in the time of COVID-19.
  • Monday, April 20 at 6 p.m. ET How To Craft Your Personal Story: Sharing your story is powerful. In this webinar you will learn the steps of an effective personal story and begin brainstorming what story you will tell whether you are recruiting volunteers or fundraising. This training will be repeated on Thursday, April 23 at 2 p.m. ET How To Craft Your Personal Story 

The National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) has several virtual live trainings planned this month to help you increase your online success:

  • Tuesday, April 14 at 1 p.m. ET – Train-the-Trainer: Successful Training in a Virtual World: For trainers moving from in-person to virtual facilitation. Experience and dissect effective practices for virtual facilitation, understand effective community-based learning strategies, and evaluate how to maintain energy and presence during virtual live trainings.
  • Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m. ET – Digital Organizing: How to Engage and Activate Your Audience: Whether you’re running for office, working on a campaign, or building your local party’s or organization’s infrastructure, having a strong digital strategy is integral to meeting your campaign’s needs from fundraising to field strategy to communications. Learn how to build, engage, and activate your audience online, including writing calls to action.
  • Thursday, April 16 at 1 p.m. ET – NDTC Weekly Virtual Q&A with NDTC CEO Kelly Dietrich: NDTC CEO and Founder Kelly Dietrich will answer questions regarding running for office, working on a campaign, or building your local Democratic party’s infrastructure during this time of navigating COVID-19. Another opportunity for a Q&A with Mr. Dietrich will be Thursday, April 23 at 1 p.m. ET – NDTC Weekly Virtual Q&A with NDTC CEO Kelly Dietrich
  • Friday, April 17 at 1 p.m. ET – How to Connect with Voters through Personal Stories: It’s important to share your “why” and create a personal connection with voters. Learn the story of self framework and how to tailor your story to a particular issue.
  • Tuesday, April 21 at 1 p.m. ET – Reaching Voters When You Can’t Meet in Person: During this field tactics session, learn effective best practices with reaching voters through phonebanking and other strategies.
  • Wednesday, April 22 at 8 p.m. ET – Local Leaders: How to Create Change in Your Community (1 of 4): Learn best practices for engaging, connecting, and growing your work during this time of COVID-19.
  • Friday, April 24 at 1 p.m. ET – Fundraising When You Can’t Meet in Person: During this fundraising session, NDTC training will provide effective best practices to raise money when you can’t meet in person and answer questions.

DNC and BPI have launched a webinar series dedicated to building organizational stability during this time of social distancing. The next webinar is Wednesday, April 22, 4 p.m. ETTBPP: Organizational Stability- Building Your Local Party Infrastructure
The DNC has also put together Online Organizing Resources, including how to engage your community, build relationships online, and hold virtual events.
Zoom hosts free and interactive live training webinars daily to assist you with using their platform for meetings and webinars. Recorded training sessions are also available in multiple languages, including English and Spanish.
Facebook provides resources to assist those administering government, political, and advocacy pages. We’ve compiled those resources for you here.
Additional training opportunities are listed here.

Organizing Corps Virtual Bootcamps

Now more than ever, campaigns will need smart, effective, and trained organizers ready to problem-solve, adapt best practices to a physically distanced world, and evolve new ways of connecting with volunteers and voters—to bring new possibilities to life and make campaigns and elections more accessible than ever.

Organizing Corps 2020 is offering Virtual Bootcamps May 11-16 and May 26-31 to ensure our presidential nominee has the smart and effective organizers needed to take back the White House and put competent leaders in seats up and down the ticket. Virtual Bootcamp is a 6-day intensive and interactive training in campaign organizing, designed to get you a paid, full-time organizer job on the 2020 general election. Every Virtual Bootcamp participant will receive a $500 technology and supplies stipend. Additional need-based technology scholarships are also available. Apply for the Virtual Bootcamp by Saturday, April 18. For more information RSVP for the OC2020 Virtual Town Hall on Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET.

FDP Department Office Hours
FDP staff is available to help you. You can reach these departments during their dedicated office hours:
Finance Department – Fundraising
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST

Voter Protection
Thursday 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST
(850) 610-2173

Digital – Social Media, Online Meetings
Tuesday, Thursday 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. EST

County Spotlight: Monroe

Monroe County is our southernmost county, encompassing the beautiful Florida Keys. It is a small, red county, and DEC members in the Upper Keys were looking for a way to safely counteract all the Trump banners in their neighborhoods. They came up with “Be Blue – Vote Blue” and are bathing their homes with blue landscape lighting to subtly indicate their political views while turning the Keys blue. The campaign ties into the message on their website: “Let’s turn the Keys blue! Working to keep the Keys…the Keys. ​​128 miles of blue ocean, blue sky, and blue voters.”

The “Be Blue – Vote Blue” campaign is spreading throughout the Keys with about 20 participants so far and many more planning to join the effort. The DEC is posting photos on their Facebook page and tracking the locations on a map that will hang in their campaign office opening later this year. Fortunately this is a campaign that can continue to engage volunteers and voters while they are staying home. Kudos to DEC Chair Bert Sise and the Keys Dems!

Vote by Mail Twitter Town Hall

Friday we hosted a Twitter Town Hall to highlight the benefits of vote-by-mail and tackle common misconceptions about this method of voting. As Donald Trump continues to spread misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vote-by-mail in a blatant attempt to suppress the vote, Florida Democrats continue to shine a light on this reliable and safe method for Floridians to vote during this time of uncertainty. Our #MailTheVoteFL trended in the US during our Twitter Town Hall with nearly 4,000 tweets and beat out Donald Trump’s press conference. Thank you to everyone who joined to make this possible!

Candidate Qualifying Updates

Last week Secretary of State Laurel Lee signed Emergency Rule 1SER20-1 and Emergency Rule 1SER20-2 regarding candidate qualifying and petition collection. The Florida Division of Elections has provided this guidance to Supervisors of Elections to address questions about Candidate Qualifying by Petition.

Important to note:

  • Candidate qualifying dates remain unchanged:
  • Noon, April 20 to noon, April 24: Federal, Judicial, State Attorney and Public Defender candidates
  • Noon, June 8 to noon, June 12: Statewide, Multi-county (except State Attorney and Public Defender), County (including precinct committeemen and precinct committeewomen) and Special District candidates
  • Municipal qualifying dates vary for each municipality. Candidates should contact their municipal clerk to confirm their qualifying period
  • Candidate petition certification dates remain unchanged:
  • Monday, April 13: U.S. Representative, judicial, state attorney and public defender candidates
  • Noon, May 11: state senator, state representative, multi-county, county and district candidates (other than judicial, state attorney, or public defender)
  • Candidate qualifying forms can now be submitted via email
  • Candidate qualifying forms requiring notarization have been updated to allow for online presence before a notary (including Form DS-DE 305CM for precinct committeemen and precinct committeewomen)
  • Candidate petitions can be collected and submitted via email; however, the voter signature must still match the signature on file

Leadership Blue Gala Weekend Postponed

Given the projections regarding COVID-19, we have postponed this year’s Leadership Blue Gala weekend. We are working to reschedule the event.

If you booked a room at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club, please call 407-939-4686 for reservation cancellation.

Voter Registration

In February, without any knowledge of how important it would be, we ran a digital test for online voter registration and received the results back this month. It was really successful, enabling us to register 1,920 voters and learn valuable lessons. We are now expanding this model into a $50,000 monthly program to continue to register voters. To help us fund this new program, please share the below link.

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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