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Clendenin gets black caucus endorsement

Posted Dec 19, 2012 by William March

Updated Dec 19, 2012 at 09:56 PM

The state Democratic Black Caucus of Florida has endorsed Alan Clendenin of Tampa for state Democratic Party chairman.

Meanwhile, a political journalism web site, Political Hurricane, says it’s about to publish a story to the effect that Clendenin’s opponent Allison Tant, a former lawyer/lobbyist in Tallahassee, lobbied for a database firm responsible for a controversial voter purge list in the 2000 election cycle.

A Clendenin news release quoted Democratic Black Caucus of Florida President Bruce Miles saying Clendenin “has consistently demonstrated a commitment to inclusiveness” and “has a long-standing relationship with the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. ... Black grassroots Democrats will have a place at the Florida Democratic table under Alan Clendenin’s leadership.”

Clendenin is in a tough race against Tant, prominent party fundraiser from Tallahassee, for the state chairmanship. Tant was a key fundraiser and organizer in President Barack Obama’s Florida campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and has backing from national party figures including Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, who’s also national Democratic Party chairman.

Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairman Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, formerly a candidate, this week dropped out of the race to support Tant.

Political Hurricane says Tant was a lobbyist in 1999 and 2000 for Database Technologies Inc., a Boca Raton-based computer firm which compiled a votger “purge list” of supposedly ineligible voters on voter rolls. The list was sent by the office of then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris to Florida election supervisers. It contained so many inaccuracies some supervisors, including Pam Iorio of Hillsborough County, refused to use it, but Democrats contend it resulted in thousands of black voters being wrongly removed from voting rolls.

At the beginning of 2000, Georgia-based ChoicePoint Inc. took over Database Technologies. State records confirm that until September, 2001, Tant was a lobbyist for ChoicePoint.

ChoicePoint defended its work, saying the voter list was not intended not as definitive and that supervisors were to verify the information before purging their voter rolls.