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Florida Democrats to convene this weekend at Disney Resort

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Democratic Party will gather this weekend for their fall convention in Lake Buena Vista.

The confab comes almost a full  year before the 2016 election, where in addition to trying to keep the state blue for the third straight time at the presidential level, the party is hoping to get one of their own to join Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate.

One of the highlights of the three-day event takes place Saturday night when Senate candidates Alan Grayson, Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith will address the crowd.

Keith has been outspoken in saying that she hasn’t been given a fair shake by the party establishment. Whether she’ll dare to say that could be an interesting development. And who gets the love from the crowd between the better known Florida members of Congress will be instructive as well, as the thought is that the party wants the centrist-leaning Murphy to be their standard bearer next fall.

The featured guest speakers will be Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy on Friday night, and Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill on Saturday evening.

Leading up to Malloy’s speech on Friday will be appearances by one of the party’s rising stars who may be redistricted out of office next year, Congresswoman Gwen Graham. Bill Nelson will also speak, along with Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation and Democratic congressional candidates.

Saturday will kick off with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed participating in a breakfast honoring the “Emanuel 9,” the group of six women and three men who were killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina this past summer. Bishop Adam Richardson, Jr. from that church, along with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congressman Alcee Hastings, and other Democratic elected officials, will make comments.
Following that is the general session that will take up the rest of the morning, from 9:30- 12 p..m. That’s when Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant will address party members, along with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Additionally, panels will be held on education and the minimum wage featuring St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, Senator Dwight Bullard, and others.
On Sunday morning there will be an Equality Brunch that will feature Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson and former FDP Chair Bob Poe, who is reportedly considering a run for Congress in the newly drawn up 10th District.
In addition, there will be dozens of meetings held by members of the party’s numerous caucuses and committees.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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