Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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SEIU backs Tant for Dem chair; business caucus backs Clendenin
Posted Jan 8, 2013 by William March
Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 05:18 PM
The politically active Service Employees International Union has endorsed Allison Tant of Tallahassee for chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Alan Clendenin of Tampa has announced backing from another party caucus, the Democratic Business Caucus.
SEIU represents thousands of custodial and health care workers, among others, and can be a major force in Democratic campaigns. It claims 55,000 active and retired members. In a news release, Florida President Monica Russo praised Tant’s “grassroots advocacy for the disabled, public education, and quality healthcare” and her “vitality and tenaciousness to campaigning and fundraising.”
Richard O’Brien, chairman of the party’s Business Caucus, called Clendenin “an outspoken advocate for small business,” and said Clendenin was a founding member of the caucus, which formed in 2011.
Clendenin has also been endorsed by the party’s black, Hispanic, environmental and veterans caucuses.
The two will face off in a Jan. 26 election to replace outgoing Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith.
Update: Clendenin has answered Tant’s SEIU backing with an endorsement from Mike Williams, state AFL-CIO president and a voting member of the state party executive committee which will elect the chairman.