Category Archives: Endorsements of Others

Endorsement of Ione Townsend for Florida Democratic Party Chair

Preface: On December 8th, 2020, I was elected to a 4-year term as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party and took office that evening. These past few weeks have been some of the busiest in my life. As Chair, I am tasked with working on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party to support and elect Democrats in Volusia County, one of the larger counties in Florida with 436,954 registered voters of which 144,154 are registered Democrats, six chartered Democratic clubs, 150 elected precinct chairs, and numerous caucuses. To these ends, it is vital that we have an experienced and effective progressive leader at the helm of the Florida Democratic Party. I have gotten to know Ms. Ione Townsend, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, and believe she is our best choice. If you are a party elector, please vote for her at the Florida Democratic Party reorganizational meeting that will take place on Saturday, January 9th, 2021.

Saturday, December 26th, 2020

I am so impressed with Ione Townsend. She is exactly who we need to lead the Florida Democratic Party. Her success as Chair of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party is exactly what we hope to replicate here on the other end of the I-4 corridor in Volusia County. She is a grassroots organizing powerhouse, a selfless public servant, and running for precisely the right reasons. Determined, competent, and transparent are her key words and she delivers on these promises in spades. She is fierce and fearless, an accomplished equestrian, nurse practitioner, and progressive leader who will deliver winning results for Democrats throughout Florida.

This isn’t a game. This is life or death. Ione will listen and include all Democrats as stakeholders and as valued voices, not just in our highly populated blue counties but also in red, rural counties that have for too long been de-emphasized. We must get rid of DeSantis in 2022 and win down-ballot races by being visible community leaders. We must organize and show up everywhere, year-round — not just parachuting in people who can’t pronounce “Volusia” weeks before an election. Ione Townsend will help make the Florida Democratic Party transparent, inclusive, and efficiently coordinated with our local parties. Please vote Ione Townsend for FDP Chair.

Dr. Richard Thripp
Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party

Please also read Ms. Townsend’s endorsement from the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida and follow her on Twitter @Townsend4FDP.

I have also posted this to FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Please share.

Endorsement of Kim O’Connor for Congress, Write-In Candidate for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District

Kim O'Connor with Kristy Thripp and son

Kristy and I are happy to announce that we are endorsing Kim O’Connor for Congress in Florida’s 2nd congressional district. Please write in Kim O’Connor on your November 3rd, 2020 ballots if you live in this district. Sign up to vote by mail if you haven’t yet, and make sure to mail your completed ballot several weeks in advance.

Map of Florida's 2nd congressional district

Update: Please visit Kim O’Connor’s website and like her Facebook page.

Florida’s 2nd congressional district is the state’s largest district by land area, stretching across two time zones and including all of Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Jackson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties, and portions of Columbia, Holmes, Jefferson, Leon and Marion counties. The district’s most populous city is Panama City, on the western end (Central Time) abutted against Rep. Matt Gaetz’s district. Like several other districts including the 6th, due to a gerrymandering court challenge, the boundaries changed in 2016 to what is depicted above, which is extremely Republican (R+18 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index).

About Kim: Kim O’Connor was born in Allapattah in 1948. She graduated from Lake Placid High School in 1964, from University of South Florida in 1969 with a B.A. in Philosophy, and from University of Florida in 1977 with a J.D., and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1978 and is an attorney in good standing.

Kim O’Connor is running for Congress as a a no-party-affiliated write-in candidate, and has previously been a member of the Democratic party and the Green party. She was elected to the Leon County Soil and Water Conservation District in 2004, and to the Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District in 2016. In 2006, Kim ran for mayor of Tallahassee to protest Mayor John Marks and the city commission’s support for Tallahassee investing in the construction of a coal power plant in neighboring Taylor County, which ended up being scrapped.

Kim O’Connor’s website at is under construction. In the mean time, she has shared this information about her platform:

Impeach Donald Trump (again)
Supports Black Lives Matter
Establish a $15 per hour federal minimum wage
Clean water, protect our natural springs and fight climate change
Medicare for All
No nuclear weapons
Supports the Equal Rights Amendment

Kim O’Connor has also written the following statement about her life and her background of public service:

After college [1969] I went home to Lake Placid [near Sebring] to help care for my mom who was dying of brain cancer and help with caring for my brother who was 13 when she got sick and 16 when she died. Afterwards I went to law school to fight the insurance companies. My dissertation was “Corporate Social Responsibility of Insurance Companies” (spoiler alert — they have none). I stayed home till my brother graduated from high school. He went to the University of Florida. I joined him the next year and attended law school.

After law school [1977] I ran campaigns. “Yes on 2” for the League of Women Voters (state ERA — lost), office manager for Barry Richard for Attorney General (lost — as I mentioned to you he received every newspaper endorsement in the state and Jim Smith’s money won). Larry Hawkins for State Representative — won. I was then supposed to be his Tallahassee aide — but Democrat establishment folks in Dade County put in one of their own. He was a very long shot candidate and his narrow victory took them by surprise — but they jumped in on day one and I was out.

I was very disappointed but decided to go to Tallahassee anyway and work for the Department of Insurance to realize my motivational goal of fighting the insurance companies. My first job was on the Unemployment Appeals commission. I interviewed from that for Department of Insurance. I was then recruited by the Florida Bar to start and run the Volunteer Lawyers Project — first pro bono effort of the bar — mandated by the Florida Supreme Court. A lot of fun. I then had my own practice as I told you and Kristy, until one day it hit 13 degrees Fahrenheit in Tallahassee and I said this is too cold. I closed my practice and headed South. I ended up in Key West where my first job was as a maid — but I soon became the assistant city attorney and loved it.

My Dad got sick. I couldn’t get him to move to Key West so I went back to Lake Placid. After he died I got a job teaching law in Zhenjiang, China. It was great!!! I love the Chinese people. I got sick — contracted SARS we believe — my brother told me not to die in China and come back to Tallahassee where I stayed until he died. That leaves me as the last of my family.

I never had a lot of money but have had an interesting and varied life.

Kim O'Connor with Richard Thripp

Kim knows the panhandle / Big Bend area of Florida well and is renting an apartment in Tallahassee (previously she lived in Tampa) in order to be centrally located in the district. Kim was a donor and supporter of my campaign (Richard Thripp for Congress) and visited us on August 20th, 2020, two days after our disappointing Democratic primary loss to Clint Curtis. Kim encouraged Kristy to run, but with Kristy not knowing the area and working on her degree at Seminole State College, as well as me accepting a job as Campaign Manager for Jennifer Coen and Judy Craig for West Volusia Hospital Authority, it is far more sensible to back Kim’s candidacy. Kristy is formally withdrawing her write-in candidacy.

Kristy Thripp's withdrawal letter

Please write in Kim O’Connor for the November 3rd, 2020 election for United States Representative in Florida’s 2nd congressional district. The incumbent, Rep. Neal Dunn, is an NRA-backed Trump shill who wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, defund the Department of Education, and other ridiculous proposals.

Background on Kristy’s write-in candidacy: We had learned from former congressman Alan Grayson that it is very bad for a Republican to be completely unopposed. Mr. Grayson told me that under U.S. House communications standards, being unopposed allows them to send mail using taxpayer funds (“franking”) to advertise themselves and up to two other Republican candidates up to the day of the election, which may be worth up to $200,000. Even the presence of a write-in candidate prevents this for 90 days before the election. (Although his logic was sound, note that Mr. Grayson filed as a write-in for the 6th district, which didn’t make sense due to the presence of Clint Curtis and I as Democratic candidates and Gerry Nolan as a write-in candidate.)

We saw that Rep. Neal Dunn was unopposed in Florida’s panhandle, so Kristy decided to run as a write-in candidate (at no cost) just before the April 24, 2020 noon deadline. However, Kim O’Connor also filed at about the same time. Had we known Kim would be filing, we would have instead filed against Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart in the 25th district, who did end up being completely unopposed. At this time, we are pleased to endorse the write-in candidacy of Kim O’Connor for Congress in Florida’s 2nd district.

Call to Action: Readers, please help disseminate this article to Democrats and others who might vote for Kim O’Connor in the 19 counties included in Florida’s 2nd congressional district, including the officers and members of each county’s Democratic Executive Committee. Click here for a PDF version to download and share.

Update: Please visit Kim O’Connor’s website and like her Facebook page.