One man’s mission to rebuild the Florida Democratic Party

Rick Hoye, the Broward Party leader, says he’s living in the future every day that he teaches history. If Hoye wins, he will be part of history as the first Black chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.

BY SHEILA JAMES, Contributor

FT. LAUDERDALE — The 2022 election was a brutal year for Florida Democrats. The devastating losses pushed the state into the red political category. But Rick Hoye, an eighth-grade teacher, said, “Not so fast.”

The 42-year-old chair of Broward’s Democratic Executive Committee said a fresh approach using winning strategies would put the Florida Democratic Party back in the winner’s circle.

“I will be a working chairman. I know how to build campaign mechanisms that work. To win local, legislative, congressional, and statewide, we must have a diverse array of strategies tailored to each region.”

The Florida Democratic Party took much of the blame for doing little in essential ground game strategy, voter registration or Get Out the Vote efforts to stem the red tidal wave that only showed up in the Sunshine State. The collapse of the Party’s core responsibilities seemed to be a death knell with losses in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Duval, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

But the Democratic stronghold of Broward County hung on despite its reputation as the notoriously low-performing Democratic bastion. Hoye is credited with bulldogging the 400-precinct paid canvassing program and phone banks manned by 1,000 volunteers.

He also launched the Municipal Victory Program, helped elect the first Haitian-American mayor in North Lauderdale and re-elected the first Haitian-American Congresswoman, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick. He did it all by tripling the fundraising record.

Hoye seems undaunted when asked why he is taking on the job nobody wants. “I know it can be done; we’ll build back together. Besides, I know how to win. Most people can’t say that.”

The election Hoye is working to win is slated for Feb. 25.

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