tampabay.com

Top director leaves state Democrats

By ADAM C. SMITH
Published January 11, 2007


Delaware Sen. Joe Biden has plucked the executive director of the Florida Democratic party to lead his presidential campaign.

Luis Navarro, a veteran Democratic organizer who arrived at the party in the summer of 2005, is leaving next week.

"I don't look at it as leaving Florida. I look at it as making sure we win in 2008," Navarro said of helping one of the Democrats' top foreign policy voices.

"While I think we're blessed with a strong field of Democratic candidates, I truly believe the No. 1 issue for voters is going to be Iraq, and they're looking for a seasoned leader with strong security credentials," Navarro said.

Navarro, former political director for the John Kerry presidential campaign and Service Employees International Union, was recruited to Florida by Sen. Bill Nelson, and some in the party raised eyebrows when he was paid more than $200,000 a year in salary and perks.

State Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman will name a successor.