What an Election!

Above all, I'm most proud of working with the more than 1,800 volunteers who gave so much time and effort toward this election in Sarasota County.

I'm just now starting to catch my breath, nearly three weeks after the election. Sarasota County was certainly at the center of this national election, playing host to a diverse array of elected and former elected officials, guests, events and activities.

The last few weeks of the election alone brought visits from Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), former Florida governors Charlie Crist and Bob Graham and Vice President Joe Biden. This is in addition to the other elected officials who came through Sarasota County during the course of the election, including DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD ), Kasim Reed (Mayor of Atlanta) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). 

In addition to the visits from elected officials, we also hosted a wide range of media professionals, activists and celebrities in Sarasota, including Cynthia Nixon, Anita Dunn, Sandra Fluke, Lucie Arnaz, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, Emily’s list founder Ellen Moran and current president Stephanie Schriock, and Nadine Smith of Equality Florida. And as you know, money talks in politics, which is why I served on four host committees for Senator Bill Nelson (FL), six host committees for FL-16 congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald and one for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Other election season highlights included serving as the Florida delegation whip at the Democratic National Convention, along with appearing on ABC 7’s Black Almanac, radio shows on La Nueva Radio, WSRQ and WSLR, and as a guest panelist several times on WEDU’s Florida This Week, including the regional Emmy Award-nominated presidential primary episode.

However, I'm most proud of working with the more than 1,800 volunteers who gave so much time and effort toward this election in Sarasota County. We worked in lock step with Organizing for America’s data-driven operation.  Almost all of our office and precinct captain phone banking was done via computer. We consistently logged over 6,000 phone calls per day over four weeks. And our aggressive Vote By Mail campaign paid off as we increased requested ballots by 28% and had an 89% return rate.

Though this election is done, the political activity won't stop. I'll be sure to update you in December, when I serve as one of Florida's 29 electors in the Electoral College, and again in January, when I head to Washington for the inauguration, so please stay tuned. Until then, thanks for joining me for all the ups and downs of the 2012 election here in Florida!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Concerned Dem November 27, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Rita, do you truly consider November's election a success? You may have won the Presidency at the National level, but locally you lost every race on the ballot in Sarasota County. In the Presidential, Sarasota County when from +211 Republican to +15,000 Republican. Also, one of only two Democrats holding office (Hospital Board) was replaced by a Republican. How could this be considered a success?
drd November 27, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Thanks, “Concerned Dem” for offering the Republican Party of Sarasota’s talking points. I won’t dispute your facts, but will challenge your interpretation. While voter registration in Sarasota County is heavily Republican, the vote totals show that Mitt Romney received 12,000 LESS votes than the number of registered Republicans, while President Obama received 7,000 MORE votes than the number of registered Democrats. Results were similar in the Congressional and many local races. These figures show that the Sarasota County Democratic Party more than held its own in 2012, and garnered support from independents and perhaps even Republicans. In contrast, the figures suggest that Republican candidates were not fully supported – even by their own base. Perhaps that is the real focus of your concern that you are trying to cover up?
Concerned Dem November 27, 2012 at 03:42 PM
To drd: Sorry, but everyone knows how the game is played in Sarasota County. Only Republicans can win elections here locally, so many Dems register as Republicans to vote in the primary. All that matters is the ballot box and the results there.
Melissa Havard November 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I think the overarching issue here is that we (our country) soundly rejected "isms"---extremism and racism, and that we indicated our desire for our elected officials to lay off interfering with our bodies, and what goes on in our bedrooms, in order to act like grownups about our economy, environment, national security, and social reform. We also recognized that we are a nation of ethnic people, fabulously culturally diverse who enrich, not hinder this great country. We want our elected officials to say what they mean, mean what they say, and, gulp, be true statesmen & women who put country ahead of bickering political ego. (see Gov Chris Christie/Pres Obama during Hurricane Sandy). Moving forward, I envision a wider influence of the "independent party" and hopefully even more diversity serving public office at the local, state and national level. I was proud to support Sarasota's Women for Obama, but I will also proudly support moderation, sanity, and the willingness of any political leader to reach across the aisle. It was a great election, and perhaps Sarasota will move beyond a lopsided one party domination as we move "forward." Thank you Rita, for all your hard work!


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