State Politics

For the first time in decades, a Miami Democrat will lead the Florida Democratic Party

Real estate developer Stephen Bittel
Real estate developer Stephen Bittel Miami Herald file

In Orlando on Saturday, party loyalists voted to make real estate developer Stephen Bittel the new chairman of the party. Bittel was heavily supported by current Democratic Party leaders like Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

It was not an easy win for Bittel, who had to fight against attempts to disqualify him from the race on Friday. A group of Miami Democrats argued that his recent election to a key county position with the Miami-Dade Democrats, which made him eligible to be chairman, was not conducted properly.

Bittel, 60, easily won the five-person race, collecting 55 percent of the vote on the first round of balloting to secure the victory. Bittel had 614 votes. In second place was Alan Clendenin, who won 232 votes.

Contact Jeremy Wallace at jwallace@tampabay.com. Follow @JeremySWallace

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