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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Too much anti-Bunting for his Pasco opponents?



Pasco County Republican Party Chairman Bill Bunting narrowly unseated longtime GOP state committeeman John Renke II -- and critics of Bunting may have to look in the mirror for part of the blame.

Bunting beat Renke by 786 votes. But Grady Peeler Jr., a Ron Paul supporter who ran but later endorsed Renke, still received 2,237 votes. Why? Peeler withdrew from the race, but his name remained on the ballot. Signs were at polling places to alert people a vote for him would not count.

Now Bunting is expected to not seek another term as chairman when a decision is due in December. He said he likely will back someone with strong "anti-tax" and "true Republican" credentials -- such as east Pasco's Randy Maggard.

"Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely," said Bunting, though he didn't rule out other people.

While Bunting held off a precinct vote to keep him off the Republican executive committee, some of the dissidents did score victories.

-- David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:34am]


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