Florida Democratic Party leader resigns in wake of scandal

Frederick Owens
November 19, 2017

All four major candidates had called for Bittel to step down after a report Thursday in which six women complained about behavior during his tenure, including suggestive comments and an unprofessional environment.

The embattled chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Stephen Bittel, is prepared to quit if members of the legislative black caucus want him gone for dismissing them as "childish" amid a dispute at a million-dollar weekend fundraising gala, top Democrats tell POLITICO Florida.

And that's not to mention the breast-shaped squeeze ball Bittel has been known to keep on his desk. It quoted anonymous women, thought the allegations did not include groping or assaulting them.

The candidates calling for Bittel to step down included Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and businessman Chris King.

"The biggest thing I will say is that it became a policy that women, especially junior staff, were never to be left alone with him in his office, plane or house", she added. He did apologize in a statement to Politico and promised to do better.

The Florida Democratic Party will pick their next leader at a later date. Beyond changing the culture there, we must all commit ourselves to changing the power structures that have allowed too many men to behave this way for too long.

Perhaps Florida Democrats should start asking Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bill Nelson, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama how Bittel's managed to do that.

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"When my personal situation becomes distracting to our core mission of electing Democrats and making Florida better, it is time for me to step aside", Bittel said in a statement.

Allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior have struck again in the Florida political scene.

"He's very demeaning. He's inappropriate in his comments he makes to women", the former staffer said.

"Every person, regardless of their gender, race, age or sexuality, should be treated with respect and valued for their hard work and contributions to our community and if any of my comments or actions did not reflect that belief I am deeply sorry", he said.

Amazingly, Bittel has already survived one call for his ouster this year for entirely different reasons.

A former fundraiser also accused Bittel of being "creepy", and detailed instances in which the chairman would ask invasive questions about her boyfriend, Politico reported.

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