Pinellas County Democrats choose Mark Hanisee to lead them for next two years

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Thursday night in Clearwater, Pinellas County Democrats elected Mark Hanisee, a former Treasurer of the party, to succeed Ramsey McLaughlan as chairman of the Pinellas Democratic Executive Committee.

This was his second bid for the position, after losing out to McLaughlan in 2008.  He defeated Maria Scruggs-Weston.

Talking about the adversity Democrats are feeling after the trouncing they took at the polls last month, Hanisee quoted former college football coach Lou Holtz.  "When Notre Dame won the national championship they said 'Coach Holtz, you're really up, you just won.' He goes, "I've been down, I'm up, I'll be down again, but I'll be up again.  And the key to that is, it's not how many times you fall, it's how many times you get up. "

Hanisee paid the ultimate respect to Republicans, saying the Democrats need to emulate what they've done since their own shellacking back in 'o8.

"They immediately went into the war room, analyzed what they did right, analyzed what they did wrong, reconfigured their party, went out and rebuilt their party, and they went out and raised money, and they recruited candidates, and they went out and hit us hard."

Hanisee also stressed that the party needed to come together, perhaps a reference to comments made moments earlier from the woman he defeated for party chair, Maria Scruggs Weston (who said she now simply goes by Maria Scruggs).

In her nominating speech for party chair, Scruggs told the crowd in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Clearwater that in fact, she had been a candidate for the Vice-Chair position as recent as three weeks ago.  She said that she had been running on a slate with Hanisee actually, but that there had been a "slight of hand," in recent weeks, and that Hanisee was now supporting another candidate.

Scruggs said that she originally considering running for chair, but opted out to defer to Hanisee.    But now she was back in.  She said that the incident was a metaphor for how such conflict can hurt the party, saying, "if we're going to get results, we cannot take out the boxing gloves with each other, we've got to be able to run as a team...if there's an agenda after an agenda...that is untrustworthy."

After losing out for chair to Hanisee, Scruggs also came in second behind Karen Hodgen for Vice-Chair.

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