Duval Dems Postpone Possible Ouster of Party Chairman On A Technicality

May 18, 2021

The Duval County Democratic Party punted on whether to remove their party chair Monday night after a member of a grievance committee raised a concern about a technicality. 

The meeting was meant to conclude an internal investigation into party Chairman Daniel Henry, whom City Council Member Garrett Dennis, a fellow Democrat and the head of the city’s redistricting committee, alleged had met improperly with Republican City Council Member Rory Diamond over redistricting, then misled the Democratic Party about it. 

Henry and Diamond have denied any wrongdoing; Henry has said Diamond approached him with an offer to work together on redistricting, which he turned down. 

The grievance committee’s report did not substantiate a specific deal around redistricting, but found that Henry had unintentionally caused harm to the party through his alleged negligence. 

At Monday night’s meeting, the party leadership considered a total of three complaints. The first, lodged against Dennis, resulted in a slap on the wrist for behavior at previous meetings, according to Duval Dems Vice Chair Jennifer Cowart. 

Two other complaints, both against Henry concerning the redistricting matter, were halted after Grievance Committee Chair Kruzshander Scott raised a concern that the party had not been given the proper 10 days’ notice in advance of a vote on the standing of a party chair. 

Out of an abundance of caution, the meeting was adjourned so that the local leadership could consult with the Florida Democratic Party on the proper procedures. 

Reached Tuesday morning, Henry reiterated his concern that the grievance report leapt to conclusions about the contents of his January 24 meeting with Diamond. He said he remains committed to the mission of the Democratic party. 

“The party continues to focus on working with our members and grassroots organizers to elect Democrats and pursue justice, equality, and opportunity for all,” Henry said. 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.