Democrat Supports Weinstein; the Duval Democratic Party Chairwoman Resigns to Back the Republican Candidate
Palka, Mary Kelli, The Florida Times Union
Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA
The chairwoman of the Duval County Democratic Party resigned Tuesday to throw her support behind Republican mayoral candidate Mike Weinstein, who still hasn't decided if he's staying in the race.
Weinstein said he appreciates Linda Whipple's support, and he'll take it into consideration when he decides in the next couple of weeks if he'll continue his campaign. He told the Times-Union on Monday that there was a 50-50 chance he'll drop out of the race to unseat Mayor John Peyton, a Republican, during the spring election.
Right after talking to the Times-Union, Weinstein met Whipple for a planned dinner Monday night. That's when she told him of her intention to step down as party chairwoman. He said he told her that her decision has to be made for personal reasons, not because of him.
Democrats Jackie Brown and Diane Melendez are also in the race, but Melendez has said she's considering dropping out to support Weinstein.
Whipple said that while she personally likes Brown, whom she calls a smart and good political activist, she doesn't believe Brown can get enough votes during the March 20 city election to make it into a runoff.
"Without having a candidate who is a viable alternative to John Peyton, the local Democratic Party will once again be left out," Whipple wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to members of the Democratic Party. …