Skip to comments.Florida GOP leader faces revolt by top fundraisers
Posted on 12/30/2009 4:39:48 PM PST by mdittmar
TALLAHASSEE A dozen of Florida's top Republican fundraisers called for the resignation of their state party chairman in a letter late Tuesday, saying without his removal Republicans had a "diminished" chance for success in a crucial election next year.
"There must be a change in leadership to successfully execute the strategic plan for victory in 2010 election cycle for Republicans," according to the letter.
Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer has resisted several resignation calls this year from party activists. "He intends to serve the remainder of his term," Greer's spokeswoman said Wednesday.
But the letter from the fundraisers, who have combined to personally donate more than $1 million to the state party in the past decade, is the biggest hurdle yet for Greer, Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein said. "This is, by far, the most important," he said.
The letter comes a week before the party's annual meeting in Orlando, where Greer's job is expected to be a top issue.
It's also on the cusp of an election year in which neither Republicans nor Democrats can afford major stumbles, particularly when it comes to fundraising: All four statewide offices plus a U.S. Senate race are on the ballot in 2010 and none includes an incumbent.
But Mark Guzzetta, a Boca Raton developer and one of the fundraisers to sign the letter, said Greer's controversies have made it "much more difficult" to raise money.
"Donors have made it clear to me that they weren't going to contribute because they weren't happy with the leadership," Guzzetta said in an interview.
Frustrations with Greer were already mounting a year ago, when he was re-elected chairman in January with the support of Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.
At the time, Republicans were upset about losing the state's 27 electoral votes to Democrat Barack Obama and questioned spending $26,000 in party contributions on a trip to England for Greer and other party leaders. Activists were also frustrated that Greer endorsed candidates in contested primaries while offering little help to candidates, such as Alan West, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and one of the party's few black candidates.
A year later, Republicans are still grumbling about party expenditures and Greer's endorsements, especially his involvement with Crist's U.S. Senate campaign. Crist is in a primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is attempting to tap into the political unrest that has sparked the conservative "Tea Party" movement in the state and across the country.
Crist, one of the most prodigious fundraisers in state history, was unavailable Wednesday to comment on the letter, which includes the signature of Tampa Bay developer Mel Sembler, one of Crist's closest confidantes.
But those close to Crist said there was no indication that his support for Greer was shaken by the letter.
Democrat Steve Schale, who directed Obama's Florida campaign in 2008, warned Republicans about reorganizing so close to the election. In a column in his blog, he compared Greer's situation to the Florida Democratic Party's leadership changes during the 1990s, including the 1998 ousting of black state-Rep. Willie Logan from a House position by his white colleagues.
"That era alone took my party from relevant minority to the dark ages -- a place we are just now still climbing out of," Shale wrote.
Several Republican activists, however, said it would be an easy transition if Greer resigned, because the state party leadership would remain in place, including some of the loudest voices calling for Greer's removal: Vice Chairman Allen Cox, County Chairmen Caucus Chair Bob Starr of Charlotte County and State Committeemen Caucus Chairman Peter Feaman of Palm Beach County.
But if Greer does not resign, the only option for his opponents could be a lengthy process to remove him.
So what chances would Republican candidates stand if the party is still embroiled in the controversy next spring? "I don't want to go there right now," Feaman said.
The writing is on the wall...Don't ignore it.
This is the major problem with the GOP right now. It’s become a good old boys club for RINOs. They need to be purged out from top to bottom if we’re going to save this Republic.
yesterday the Republican National Committee called me looking for a handout...I told them I was sick and tired of the lack of leadership in the party and the party backing scags and using my money for clowns like Scofazza of NY- I told them I will send my money directly to the candidates who best represent me....
Tea Party strikes again.
Form a grass roots campaign to oust Greer and get behind the real conservative.
I’m getting involved with my local GOP. Hopefully can pull it back from the far left.
The Maryland GOP changed chairs in November. I liked Dr. Pelura, but we were near broke. A popular veteran of Maryland politics, Audrey Scott, was elected handily over a not to serious opponent.
Ping and pong. Looks like the grass roots are finally fed up. Good.
When do we send our letter to Michael Steele?
Good news. Conservatives in FL booting out RINOs. Crist the fraud is next.
“Democrat Steve Schale, who directed Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008, warned Republicans about reorganizing so close to the election. In a column in his blog, he compared Greer’s situation to the Florida Democratic Party’s leadership changes during the 1990s, including the 1998 ousting of black state-Rep. Willie Logan from a House position by his white colleagues.”
If a democrat is warning us not to do it, then it is something that MUST be done. Of course the democrat wants Greer to stay there...best thing for the democrat party.
$1 million in ten years combined? This is significant, but Greer won’t even blink until a group that’s contributed tens of millions combined revolts.
Virginia physically removed its GOP chairman last spring. Didn’t turn our too bad. Result was a GOP landslide in November!
I'm not sure I understand what's going on here... Crist supported Greer for party chairman but now one of Crist's "closest confidantes" wants Greer canned? Does this mean that, behind the scenes, Crist wants Greer canned?
This "controversy" has something to do with Rubio suddenly posing a serious challenge for Crist. Bet on it.
No, Crist has not thrown Greer under the bus and will most likely not unless he believe Greer is costing him the election.
Greer is being targeted by the local GOP groups who dispise him along with those in the State GOP who have not, and never really did like Greer.
Initially Greer was a compromise candidate; one that appeased Crist. It was not until he showed how completely arrogant and incompent he really is that the locals, grassroots and now heavy hitter fundraisers targeted him.
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