The liberal, Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic party has been asserting itself in local party elections across Florida, and in Pinellas County generating some ill will.
Progressive organizer Jeff Cox last week easily unseated Pinellas Vice Chairman Johnny Boykins, one of the few Black millennials visible and active with the local Democratic Executive Committee. Cox, a white millennial, discusses the controversy in the latest episode of Political Party with Adam Smith.
“I didn’t actually sleep the night of the election because I knew I was going to win. I had already counted the votes. And I knew it would cause some pain and some hurt,” said Cox. “All I can say is I’m going to do the work. I will use all the skills I have to get out the vote and ensure there is better representation where possible.”
The Dec. 7 Pinellas party election saw Chairwoman Barbara Scott reelected, but multiple progressive candidates unseat established officers. It prompted some heated backlash.
“What happened tonight was the progressives decided that they do not believe in Black representation. This is not a value I can uphold,” former party secretary Grieta Patenaude posted on Facebook. “If we believe in diversity then we need to live diversity.”
Boykins wished Cox well on Medium.
Cox said he is committed to diversity and praised Boykins.
“I was asked to step up, and I felt that it was time for me to serve if I could,” he said.
Click on the arrow above to watch the full interview.