A week out from the selection of a new Florida Democratic Party chair, Alen Clendenin tries to separate fact from fiction



Alan Clendenin
  • Alan Clendenin
The intense infighting between Alan Clendenin and Allison Tant and their respective camps for the Democratic Party chair race will climax in Lake Mary one week from today, when the approximately 1,150 delegates with a vote will decide who will lead the party going into the crucial 2014 elections.

The latest salvo in this increasingly bitter contest, one that most Florida Democrats tell CL they can't wait to see end, was a mass email sent out Thursday night to local political reporters from John Carr, a former colleague of Clendenin's in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), who blasted him for inflating his work in growing that union during his tenure there.

CL spoke to both Clendenin and Carr yesterday. Carr said of Clendenin, "He did a fine job in the position he was in, but his release makes it sound like he was an autonomous operator, that he created all of these things out of whole cloth and that's just not the case."

Meanwhile Clendenin hinted that Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a strong supporter of Tant, was behind Carr's decision to send out his email, though Carr denied that, saying he didn't even know who Clendenin was running against.

(You can read the original press release that raised Carr's ire and his response here.

As we have reported in our current issue, there has been a lot of criticism voiced about Clendenin, much of it from people unwilling to go on the record. But the objections are growing loud enough that the 53-year-old Tampa Democrat decided today to issue a statement listing some of the calls against him, and what he says is the true record.

In his new press release, Clendenin tries to stamp out the rumors that could definitely hurt his cause: that he will be devoting resources to Alex Sink (who has endorsed him in the race), and would deny them to Charlie Crist, who a new poll this week showed is the overwhelming favorite among those surveyed to be the party's gubernatorial nominee in 2014. (Neither Sink nor Crist have announced their candidacies yet.)

He also addresses the charges that he's truly not a grass-roots organizer.

Lie — Alan will direct all party resources to Senator Nan Rich’s gubernatorial primary campaign.
Lie — Alan will direct all party resources to CFO Alex Sink’s (rumored) gubernatorial primary campaign.
Lie — Alan will direct all party resources to Gov. Charlie Crist (rumored) gubernatorial primary campaign.

FACT —I will not allow the Democratic Party to pick favorites in a Democratic primary. I respect our Democratic candidates too much to tilt the table towards or away from any one of them. 1

Lie — Alan will not support Charlie Crist for Governor.

FACT — I am a Democrat. I will support the choice Democratic voters in our primary. I enjoy a respectful relationship with all three of the above-mentioned potential nominees. As Chair I will ensure our party is ready, willing and able to support the voters choice.

Lie — Alan will fire the staff if he is elected.

FACT — I have not stated nor do I have any intention to ‘Fire’ staff.

Lie — Alan is opposed to marriage equality

FACT — I support marriage equality

Lie — Alan said that he wouldn't " serve under a woman"

FACT — As a son and a father of two strong independent women, This one is so outrageous I don’t know what to say about it. Really? It is 2012 not 1912 .

Lie — Alan said that he "burn the house down if I don't get this job"

FACT — Two years ago I stepped aside when asked because I was convinced it was the right thing to do for our party. I didn’t cut a deal and I didn’t burn the house down I just stepped aside and kept doing what I do. I have always been, I am, and will continue to be a loyal Democrat. I am running to lead the party because we need to change our trajectory. My type of change does not involve matches or flames; it involves training and empowering our activists.

Lie — Alan has paid the authors of the Political Hurricane blog and paid for an ad on their site in exchange for their support.

FACT — I did not pay the Political Hurricane Blog for an ad or their support.

Lie — If Alan is elected he will fire and he will hire to replace him/her.

FACT — I have not promised a job or position to anyone.

Lie — Alan is not grassroots. He doesn’t do the work.

FACT — I am a proven grassroots organizer and team member. I walk precincts, stand at polls, help organize events and just about anything else our party or candidates ask me to do.

Lie — Clendenin is a puppet of “Big Sugar”

FACT — I am not a puppet of anyone or any organization. Not ‘Big Sugar’ or any individual. I have never solicited or received a donation for or from anyone associated with ‘Big Sugar’. I do not owe anyone anything.

Lie — Alan Clendenin does not have fundraising experience

FACT — As National Chair of the air traffic controller’s legislative team I led the team effort to build the PAC. 6

Lie — During Alan’s term he did not grow the PAC by 900%.

FACT — Under my leadership the PAC grew 900%. When I became chair the PAC brought in less than $200,000/cycle when I left the PAC was bringing in 2 million dollars a cycle. That is 900% according to my calculator. (During my term the PAC raised over 4 million dollars.)

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