Sen. Bill Nelson weighs in on eve of Florida Democratic chair vote

Sen. Bill Nelson is backing Palm Beach County Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo for the Florida Democratic Party’s top post.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is backing Palm Beach County Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo to lead the Florida Democratic Party ahead of a Saturday vote in Orlando.

Longtime Nelson political adviser Pete Mitchell confirmed the senator — Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat — will throw the large chunk of votes he controls behind Rizzo, who has led the county party since 2012.

Rizzo, Brevard County Democratic Chairwoman Stacey Patel and Hillsborough County Democratic State Committeewoman Alma Gonzalez are running to replace Stephen Bittel, who abruptly resigned last month after Politico reported accusations from six women that he made demeaning comments to women, leered and kept a breast-shaped stress ball in his desk.

A fourth candidate, Service Employees International Union Florida President Monica Russo, gave up her pursuit of the job and has endorsed Patel.

There are about 1,200 possible votes for chair under the Florida Democratic Party’s voting system. Rizzo has announced endorsements from party activists and officials who control more than 300 votes. Nelson’s endorsement comes with 42 votes.

Rizzo, 70, lives west of Boynton Beach.

 

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