Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hillsborough County committeewoman says vote for party chair wasn't fair

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Alan Clendenin spoke to the Hillsborough DEC Monday night
  • Alan Clendenin spoke to the Hillsborough Democratic Executive Committee Monday night
Democratic National Committeeman Alan Clendenin thanked local supporters in Ybor City on Monday night, two days after his bid to become chairman of the Florida Democratic Party came up short to Allison Tant. Clendenin was named vice chair, and said he looked forward to helping out Hillsborough County.

Thanking those who supported and worked for him during his campaign, Clendenin said he wanted to "correct the record and make sure that people understand why we had a competition of ideas and a vision for the direction of the party."

Tant defeated Clendenin 587 to 507, but there were several proxy votes disallowed by outgoing party chair Rod Smith. This angered Diane Hart, the head of the state's Black Caucus and a committeewoman for Hillsborough County.

"It was discovered that there were a lot of proxies over in Orlando that were not correct," she told members of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee on Monday night at the group's monthly meeting. "We've requested copies of the ballots, tallying sheets, and the proxies, because there were a lot of proxies that were not correct. Typically when we leave that meeting, everything is in a sealed envelope. We've requested that information. I believe that party needs to be transparent, open and fair, and that didn't happen in Oralndo, and that disturbed me."

Although Hart supported Clendenin in his bid for party chair, she said her request for more information had nothing to do with any sour grapes on behalf of the candidate.

"It wasn't Allison who ran the election, it was Mr. Rod Smith," she replied, adding that the situation was "ridiculous" and "you had to be there to see it."

The rejected ballots totaled 54 votes, which would not be enough to change the outcome of the election if they counted.

The original vote as reported by the Associated Press had Tant defeating Clendenin by a 587 to 442 margin. That was before it was discovered that a ballot case for Clendenin, which contained 59 votes, was stuck to another person's ballot. That changed the final result to 587-507.

Hart said the party leadership has 30 days to respond to her.

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