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Palm Beach County Democratic Party leader Mindy Koch suspended

Leaders from Miami-Dade, Franklin counties also suspended
Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chair Mindy Koch shares her thoughts on the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 19:25:12-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mindy Koch was suspended from her position as leader of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party eight months ahead of the 2024 general election, state party chief Nikki Fried announced Monday.

Two other county leaders, Robert Dempster in Miami-Dade County and Carol Barfield in Franklin County, also were suspended.

"The actions taken today are part of an overall strategy to get our local parties back on track," Fried, who assumed her position in February 2023, said in a news release. "Over the past year, the Florida Democratic Party has made repeated attempts to mitigate complaints received prior to my election as chair and support the leaders of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Franklin Democratic Executive Committees. One of my first actions as chair was the launch of an assessment team to evaluate issues, review plans and provide guidance to parties identified as noncompliant."

The 120-member Central Committee must vote to confirm a suspension by a two-thirds vote to remove the person from leadership. The committee will vote at its next meeting, which hasn't been identified.

"The success of Florida Democrats depends on the success of our local parties on the ground, and the majority of our DECs are working tirelessly to organize year-round across the state," Fried said. "There is too much at stake to ignore the challenges before us and we need all of our local parties engaged in our mission to take back Florida.

"Florida Democrats are serious about creating the infrastructure and party apparatus we need to take back our state, restore our rights and freedoms and re-elect Democrats all the way up the ticket. The country is counting on us."

Vice Chairman Sean Rourk is now in charge of the Palm Beach County party's governing board, the Democratic Executive Committee, pending the election of a new leader.

Koch was elected to her post in 2022, succeeding Terrie Rizzo.

"The cost of inaction is too high," Fried said. "Candidates and elected officials rely on their local Democratic Parties to register voters, mobilize volunteers and engage donors to support their efforts — and they are impacted the most when they are not working effectively.

The Palm Beach Post reported there were concerns about Koch's governing style and issues members had with the party's initial policy of in-person-only meetings. Also, there was a generational divide between older and younger members of the party and Executive Committee.