Stephen Bittel has been appointed as the new Florida Democratic Party Chair. It is the first time in decades that a wealthy donor has taken this role. Bittel is not just any donor; he has donated over $500,000 to the FL Democrats in recent years and raised hundreds of thousands more from his wealthy friends. Stephen Bittel will replace former chair Stephen Fowler, who resigned for reasons unknown to many on February 11th. No other details about his plans are currently available.

Bittel is no stranger to politics; he served on the boards of both Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and Barack Obama’s 2008 race for president, as well as being an active fundraiser for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign. He also donated $200,000 to Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy.

The election of Bittel comes with a heavy price tag of well over 1 million dollars in donations to the party by this time next year. During the recent primaries, he has also made large contributions to both Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former Gov. Charlie Crist, totaling more than $100,000 in each case. It is no wonder that Bittel became very angry with the Democratic Party when they refused to give him a speaking slot at their convention after Fowler’s resignation and was quoted as saying, “I’m not writing a check anymore. That’s it. I’m done.”

Bittel has also been trying to get a large seat on the Democratic National Committee. He briefly held a seat on the DNC during Obama’s presidency until the Florida Democratic Party gained enough seats that he was no longer needed. Bittel won his position through his donations but not in a vote by the party’s members as is standard practice.

Bittel will serve a four-year term and will be required to step down again after that time to give someone else a chance at running things. After that time, he can run for a second term but will be required to spend at least two years in a position no longer as an elected official. After that time, he is free to return to making large donations.

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