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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dorworth's rival wants change to speaker selection process

24

February

State Rep. Erik Fresen said Wednesday that his bid for House speaker was "a mathematical possibility" but decided to quit the race to promote party unity.

The Miami lawmaker broke his silence a day after his fellow House Republicans selected Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary as the likely speaker in 2014. Dorworth's financial troubles spurred heated debate among party insiders after his selection was announced and drew rebuke from the public concerned with "politics as usual." (See comments section.)

Fresen, who conceded the race in a meeting Saturday at the party confab in Orlando, disputed accounts from Dorworth's supporters that he had only a handful of pledge cards. "It was certainly a mathematical possibility but it would have been something more drawn out," he said.

The point of his campaign, Fresen said, was to protest the process that anoints a future caucus leader in a lawmaker's first term in office. He would support a caucus rule that delays the race to let the true leaders emerge in time.

This system means "you possibly making decisions not based on what you should make your decision based on," he said.

Despite leaving the race, Fresen said he accomplished his goal. "But for the action we took, it would have been (decided) two years ago."

As for Dorworth's financial troubles, he said it wasn't a factor and neither was Dorworth's close ties to disgraced Party Chairman Jim Greer. But he acknowledged, "at the end of the day ... you can't detach yourself from who you are around."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:22pm]

    

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