State Democratic Leadership Looking For Change in 2014 - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

State Democratic Leadership Looking For Change in 2014

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We're only one month into 2013, but already Florida Democrats are looking to 2014 Elections. The newly elected party leadership has big Panhandle representation; something they feel will give them a leg up on Election Day.

News 13's sat down with the leadership to talk about their vision to bring more Democrats to the State Legislature.

"The Panhandle will be brought into state politics finally," said State Congressional District One Chair, Frank Day.

It's a dream made reality said day. He said the credit begins with Allison Tant, the new Florida Democratic Party Chair. With ties to the Panhandle, Day said the area is her priority.

"We outnumbered tremendously by the number of Republicans versus Democrats in the Panhandle, so there's enormous room for growth," said Day.

The last election cycle saw a tipping of the scales on the state level, overturning the Republican Super Majority in both houses.

It's something that day hopes can open doors for Democratic Panhandle candidates, beginning with Tant's heavy recruiting strategy.

"We've got to elect some democrats from the Panhandle and hopefully increase that number," said Day.

The votes have to come first, said Congressional District 2 Chair, Patricia Byrd, and that's her main push in this heavy Republican area.

"Ballot to the box and not have a lax turn out but a historic turnout," said Byrd.

2014 has Democrats eager for change, specifically taking on Republican Governor Rick Scott; but, they face the challenge of an off year election, when, historically, Republicans turn out more than Democrats.

"It's not going to be a presidential election and some people feel like its not as important, but what we're trying to teach people is that we've got to start at the grass roots level and work our way to the top," said Bay County Democratic Women's Club Chair, Brenda Miracle.

With over 200 members, it's the largest club in the state.

The key, said State Committee Man, Bill Pritchard, is mobilization and staying optimistic.

"To me at this time, I think things are looking up for the Democratic Party in Florida," he said.

As state party chair, Allison Tant will take over a party of nearly 5 million people.

Fresh off of President Obama's victory in Florida last November, it's the first time a Democratic Presidential candidate won Florida twice in a row since 1936.