Republicans are having some fun rubbing salt in the Democratic Party wounds over the state Democratic chairwoman’s refusal to allow gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich a speaking slot at the big party fundraising dinner next month in Hollywood.
There’s discontent in the ranks over state Democratic Chairwoman Allison Tant’s decision not to honor Rich’s request for five minutes at the mic at the big Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Westin Diplomat. The stated reason: a desire to streamline the proceedings, which typically drag on into the night.
But the move deprives Rich of a chance to make a pitch to activists and party donors from around the state. Party leaders said she’ll be able to spread her message at the small group gatherings that precede the dinner, but those often attract 20 to 50 people as opposed to the 1,000-plus who sit down for the dinner.
Rich is a former state representative and former state senator from Weston who was the top Democrat in the Florida Senate in 2011 and 2012.
Republicans are capitalizing in the Democratic discontent by taking up the cause. Their mischief making includes setting up a Twitter hashtag #FreeNanRich, where people can post their comments about JJ-gate.
Typical is the tweet from Nicholas Stone, president of the Broward County Young Republicans, who taunted Tant over the party’s contention that big donors were shying away from the JJ dinner because the proceedings lasted too long. “Is your party really so broke you can’t afford to give Sen Rich 5 mins?” Stone asked, repeating a tweet from state Republican Chairman Lenny Curry.
Another Curry tweet: “Where in the world is @AllisonTant? Shouldn't she just #FreeNanRich?”
Curry also wrote an “open letter” to Democratic activists:
We may disagree on some issues. We have experienced hard-fought campaigns between candidates of my party and candidates of your party. I imagine the 2014 election cycle will be another set of hard-fought campaigns.
But I write this letter to you in order to let you know that I support the efforts of many in your party to allow former State Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich to speak at your Jefferson-Jackson dinner on June 15. While Senator Rich and I might not see eye to eye politically, she has a long history of leadership in public service and deserves five minutes of speaking time as the only announced gubernatorial candidate in your party.
Because Senator Rich is an experienced spokesperson for Democratic ideology in Florida, it must be disappointing to see your Chairwoman, Allison Tant, put the interests of big-dollar donors ahead of a mere five minutes for Florida's leading champion of liberal causes.
It might be the fact that she is just out of touch with Democrat activists like many of you, and takes her orders from Washington. But it also may be that Tant is working with Charlie Crist to set up a possible gubernatorial candidacy announcement at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Who knows.
So if you want to see Nan Rich speak, I encourage you to take to Twitter, using the hashtag #FreeNanRich. Tweet at @AllisonTant. Ask her why she's put big money ahead of a five minute speech. And use the #FreeNanRich hashtag to if you want to potentially derail a Charlie Crist announcement 16 days from now.
Chairman, Republican Party of FloridaCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun