With the Orange County Democratic Party chair open, Lonnie Thompson is running to be the new chairman.
The seat is open because chair Juan Lopez recently announced he wouldn’t be running for re-election.
Thompson, 52, works with True Results Communications and Consulting in Winter Park.
“I am running to provide some stability and continuity to the local Democratic Party,” he said. “I want to serve all Orange County Democrats and get Democrats elected to local office. I have no intentions to run for political office again or a higher position in the party. I want to develop grassroots party activists and have a transparent organization that supporters will invest in with their time and money.”
Thompson, in a press release, mourns the loss of “institutional knowledge” in the Democratic Party with so many different chairs and interim chairs coming and going since 2000, contrasted with the Republicans who’ve had the same chair since 1999 in Orange County.
He said on the local level, despite the nonpartisan elections, the County and Charter Review Commission were “stacking the deck” for Republicans, and that it needed to stop, as it gave the Republicans too much control – he cited the “Textgate” scandal from earlier this decade as a prime example, in which prominent county officials were caught communicating with lobbyists on key issues before the board.
“I think there is big problem with the County Commission, Redistricting and Chart Review Committees stacking the deck for Republicans,” he said. “Every County Commission district has a democratic voter registration advantage except one and prior to this past election only one Commissioner was a Democrat.
“Why is Orange County the only county in Central Florida with nonpartisan elections? Republicans spent money trying to pass the nonpartisan Charter amendments, but I look in my mailbox and see a bunch of mailers identifying Ted Edwards as a Republican and Emily Bonilla as a Democrat. Save the money and just put their parties on the ballot.”
If he’s elected, Thompson says he wants to put more focus on getting the Democratic message out to voters.
“We need to engage people on the lower levels,” he said. “There’s such a Democratic advantage in Orange County. This county went majorly for Hillary Clinton. But the county is mostly Republican. I’m not seeking a higher office. I’m here to help local Democrats get elected.”
Thompson has been active in the Democratic Executive Committee since 1996 on various committees including Affirmative Action, Parliamentary Procedures and Precincts Chair, and was elected to the Executive Board in 2004. He was also a candidate for State Representative in 2008. He’s lived in Central Florida since 1987.