Greetings Fellow Democrats,
During this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope each of us can take some time to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. In taking that time myself, I wanted to share some thoughts with you.
First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank you for everything you do. Democrats picked up seats this election and we have built a strong foundation to enter 2020. None of this could have happened without you.
Following the 2016 election, Pinellas Democrats focused on increasing our outreach, organizing and grassroots activism. With the hard work and dedication of thousands of folks -- including many new to the political process -- we were able to bring fresh strategy and tactics that delivered significant results in the recent election.
While we share the disappointment about the statewide results, we can also be very proud of the great work done here in Pinellas County. Bill Nelson carried Pinellas by 22,777 votes and Andrew Gillum won by 13,141 votes. And we cannot forget that Nikki Fried won here by 27,880 votes!
At the local level, Jennifer Webb won an impressive victory in House District 69 and will join Ben Diamond and Wengay Newton in the Florida House -- which means for the first time in ages, approximately half the population in Pinellas County will be represented in the State House by a Democrat!
Local candidates told us it was critical for the County Party to help promote Democratic turnout. I am so proud to report that as a result of our tens of thousands of phone calls, doors knocked, and slate cards handed out, and after thousands more text messages and mailers -- 70% of Pinellas Democrats voted in this mid-term election. That number looks to be higher than any of the other "Blue" Counties in Florida.
But Election Day 2018 was not an end date. Our work must continue. We are engaged in a marathon, not a sprint. The progress we are making now is the foundation we will use to keep building for the critical election we will face in two years.
Our 2020 strategic planning starts now. We must create even stronger systems for getting out our message and our vote. To do that, I want us to hear from a diverse group of voices about what successes we can build on and what opportunities we have to improve our operations.
Those who may be new to politics should not be discouraged by elections we didn’t win. Those who have been involved for a while understand we are not always successful. But we must continue to fight. Giving up is not an option. The values and principles represented by the Democratic Party are so important to so many of us.
Pinellas Democrats will hold officer elections on December 10. It has been my privilege to serve as chair for the past four years. Some of you may know that while I have few relatives, I consider each of you as my family. I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me to serve as your chair and I take the responsibility personally and seriously.
At our next meeting, I will again ask for your support as chair to allow me to continue the work we have started. Preparing for the 2020 elections is incredibly critical -- for each of us, as well as our country. This is a group effort; everyone is part of the team helping make our Party stronger.
At this time of thanks for all we have, I also want to share with you that this has been a personally difficult week for me. I am dealing with an ongoing health issue as well as the loss of my childhood home to fire.
However, I know my personal struggles are not unlike the ones faced by so many Floridians and persons across the nation. Although I have my own challenges, when I look at the greater picture, I know I have much to be grateful for.
I truly believe in the goodness of my fellow citizens and the democracy our founding fathers and mothers created where the voices of the many can and will be heard. I know that with perseverance (as well as smart planning and financial resources), we will gain back a government that truly represents all of us. We are already on the way!
Thank you again.
May this Thanksgiving time give light to our hearts and may any prejudices against others give way to gratitude for each other.
Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving and holiday season,
Pinellas Democratic Party