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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla GOP raises $2-mill, touts unity



 Florida Republicans declared themselves one big happy family at their annual gathering Friday, seeking to banish any hard feelings lingering from a divisive governor's race before the high-stakes Nov. 2 election.

At this reunion of hundreds of party activists, politicians and donors, gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott is the uncle who married into the family and makes everybody a little nervous. Senate contender Marco Rubio, the former House speaker and a national star, is the favorite son. And President Barack Obama is the bitter enemy who binds them together.

...Party leaders hope the gathering at Disney turns the page on one of the Florida GOP's most tumultuous periods: the ouster and subsequent indictment of former GOP state chairman Jim Greer; controversy over personal expenses on party-issued American Express cards; and a grass roots revolt against Gov. Charlie Crist, who ultimately dropped out of the GOP after trailing badly behind Rubio.

"I don't think I need to remind you of the obstacles we've had to overcome to get here tonight," said party chairman John Thrasher, a state senator and former lobbyist who replaced Greer early this year. "The dark period of our party's history is over, and it is gone forever."

(Story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:28pm]


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