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Tant defeats Tampa's Clendenin in race to lead state's Democrats

Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

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Allison Tant has won the race for chairman of the state Democratic Party, defeating Alan Clendenin of Tampa.

"We are going to work together, we are going to be unified and we are going to beat Rick Scott," Tant said immediately after the vote was announced. "We are going to turn this party into a powerhouse for winning elections with the talent, energy and vitality of the people in this room."

In something of a consolation prize, Clendenin was nominated as party vice chairman and elected by acclamation.

The nomination was made by Tant backer John Ramos of Palm Beach County, who himself had been nominated for the post, but withdrew and nominated Clendenin "for the sake of unity."

After their bitter race, Clendenin and Tant made a show of unity, embracing on the stage in the party meeting in Lake Mary.

"Make no mistake, GOP, this team's coming to get you," he said.

The outcome, in which representatives of each county cast weighted votes depending on the number of registered Democrats and voting history of their counties, was not as close as expected; 587 votes for Tant to 448 for Clendenin, with 54 votes ruled invalid by outgoing Chairman Rod Smith.

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