GOP “Outrage” is almost farcical

At last night’s Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee, Chairwoman Deborah Cox-Roush gave her report on the recent resolution adopted by the leadership of the REC to express their displeasure at Republican party leaders getting involved in primary races. While I am paraphrasing her speech, she said the GOP should wait and let the voters decide.

Unfortunately, that is not reality. Republican and Democratic party leaders get involved in just about every race. They play favorites well before the primary. They attempt to anoint their preferred candidate. It happens all the time.

Here is a case in point: Dennis Ross. The Lakeland Ledger is reporting Ross is getting the backing of most party bigwigs, from Jeb Bush to Eric Cantor. The party is attempting to “clear the field” for Ross. Where is the outrage from conservatives complaining about backing a candidate before the voters have had a chance to speak?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Ross. He will make a great Congressman. But if our party leaders are really going to sit back and shout because party leaders backed Crist over Rubio, they need to have the same standard for Congressional, legislative, and county races. But I won’t be holding my breath for a resolution on the GOP’s early involvement in the CD 12 race…

Many readers know that I used to manage campaigns in a former life. I also ran for state representative in 2002. I have seen first hand how the Republican Party gets involved in races before the primary. It happens in almost every race. Yet this is the first time we’ve seen this kind of widespread agitation over a common practice.

If our local leaders are that adamant about party meddling, they need to oppose it every time… even when the meddling benefits candidates they personally support.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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4 Responses to GOP “Outrage” is almost farcical

  1. Frank says:

    I think you are talking about Apples and Oranges. The party is not actively trying to anoint Dennis. As you know, and I do since I live in Dennis’ soon to be Congressional district, Dennis is universally loved because he stood up to the party in the Legislature and is an all around good guy.

    In the case of Charlie, the party is actively trying to shut others out. Dennis has shut everyone out because, quite frankly, why would you want to run against someone who everyone loves?

    I think the HREC was right to express outrage. If it were Charlie against David Duke or a fringe candidate, I would say sure, close it out. But if it is Charlie against Marco, then this is Greer being Greer, but I think comparing the Greer debacle to Dist 12 is off base.

  2. Jim Greer is making a mistake backing Bill McCollum over Charles Bronson. McCollum ran two terrible state races. He has the baggage of the sex predator ad and the Clinton impeahment. (Note to conservatives: McCollum avoids talking about the impeachment. Clinton will always have higher approval ratings than McCollum. It’s reality.) McCollum is stiff. Bronson has less baggage and a better public speaker. It’s not my party. I rather have McCollum face Alex Sink. I’m sure Sink feels the same way.

    Greer was a fundraiser for Crist. It will be seen as a conflict of interest. Greer could have handled things more tactfully. He seems tone deaf. Crist is still the better general election candidate. The Senate race will help get Rubio’s name out there. Rubio needs to campaign to make himself look good and help Crist in the general election. If Rubio runs to tear apart Crist (thinking he can win) and is a sore loser then he can kiss his future goodbye.

    Lincoln Chafee said conservatives are more concerned about party purity than winning elections. That is music to the ears of the DNC.

  3. Jim,
    As Chairman of the County Party of Hillsborough, I think you have missed the point. The point of the resolution is not support or non support for any one candidate, it is about following the rules. Hillsborough County was the first to pass a resolution that stated we adamantly opposed Chairman Greer’s request for an RNC Rule 11 letter and we opposed Chairman Greer not following Rule 8 in the Rules and Procedures of the Republican Party of Florida. This resolution was passed after numerous emails, announcements, etc were sent out by the RPOF regarding the announcment and candidacy of Governor Crist. This has nothing to do with Governor Crist. We did not approve of the promotion of an individual race by the RPOF and feel there should be a level playing field for all candidates. That is still our position. We oppose the endorsement of any candidate by the Republican Party of Florida without approval from the Executive Board and 60% of the State Executive Committee voting in favor of that endorsement. We do not oppose individuals to choose the candidate of their choice, get engaged and work for that candidate, we encourage that. Our position will also stand in the Governor Race and any race where there is an endorsement or promotion of any one candidate without approval from the Executive Board and the State Executive Committee. Chairman Greer has stated that he will ask for an endorsement for Bill McCollum in the July meeting, that is following the rules and he must abide at that time by the decision of the State Executive Committee.
    Our grassroots needs to be engaged at the federal, state and local level and they also need to know that their voice and vote counts. While we are not naive and realize that campaigning goes on all the time in many circles, it was the blatant promotion and the behind the scences request for a Rule 11 letter that was totally uncalled for in this instance. A Rule 11 letter is for the likes of David Dukes, not a former speaker of the house. I am a team player and if the rules are followed: the State Executive Board and State Executive Committee vote in favor of endorsing a candidate, I will support that endorsement, however, until the rules are followed, I will not waiver on our opposition of last week’s tactics.


  4. Jim Johnson says:


    I appreciate your candid answer, but to me it seems rather straightforward. The fact that a “Rule 11 letter” process exists tells me that is actually following the rules. It may just be a different rule than you (and a good many others) prefer.

    When the party doesn’t follow the rules, as happens in almost every race, that is a problem. At least in this case, it seems to me, Chairman Greer was actually trying to follow the rules.

    The real issue comes when party officials, such as Speaker- and President-designates use their positions to push their preferred candidate without a formal and open process. I assure you Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos will be working to “recruit candidates” even in races where there are already Republicans running. And they will be steering financial support to their favorite candidates, using their positions of influence to marginalize the role of the voters. Should the REC pass a resolution expressing concern about this long-time practice?

    Finally, I will say this, if you actually believe it is okay for the RPOF Chair to seek endorsement of a “mainstream” candidate over a “fringe” candidate, then it absolutely is about the people in the race. Endorsements like this are either acceptable if they follow an open process or they are not acceptable in any case — that is why I think these actions by various county RECs border on the absurd.

    The REC Board effectvely said:
    1) It’s okay to look the other way when party leaders steer “unofficial” support to one candidate over another, subverting the ability of the voters to decide for themselves.
    2) It’s okay to allow “official” support in some cases but not others; especially when judging the relative strengths of the candidates in the race.

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