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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jim Stelling: Marco Rubio camp aiming to destroy Jim Greer



A full-throated defense of Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer sent to the state executive committee tonight:

My fellow Republican leaders,

I have been  on the RPOF board since my election as state committeeman for Seminole County in 1984.  I’ve served as Treasurer of the RPOF under Chairman Van Poole and Tom Slade, Vice Chairman under Chairman Al Cardenas and Chairman of the Rules Committee under Jim Greer. 

 These men were different in many ways, but are similar in that they love our party deeply and are willing to sacrifice greatly to defend our core ideals of less government, lower taxes, more personal freedom and the sanctity of human life.  As of late, Chairman Jim Greer has become the victim of the most vicious smear campaign I have seen in my 25+ years on this board.  It needs to stop right now, and I ask you to help me convey that to Allison DeFoor, Allen Cox, Eric Miller, Deborah Cox-Roush, Tony Dimatteo, Sharon Day, Gary Lee, A.J. Mathews,  Peter Feaman and others who will not rest until our party is in ruins.  Please join me in calling for an end to the divisive tactics that could tear the Republican Party of Florida apart.  If not, our candidates will suffer at the ballot box in 2010 and the people of Florida will suffer for decades to come. 

I will say what nobody else has publicly said yet: this is a coordinated attack on the chairman from the supporters of the Marco Rubio for US Senate campaign because they believe Jim’s friendship with Governor Crist creates too much of an advantage for the Crist  campaign.  On a daily basis, we see grassroots leaders, elected officials and donors - all supporters for one US Senate campaign - call on our chairman to resign, but for what?  It was less than a year ago today that we reelected him with over 75% of the vote of the full committee.  It was less than six months ago that the RNC board granted him the high honor of electing him chairman of the RNC Committee on Rules, placing him 3 rd  in the organizational hierarchy of the national Republican party.  It wasn’t two weeks ago that the executive board gave the chairman a vote of confidence by a vote of 25-2.  So I ask again – what has changed? 

The answer is nothing.  On a daily basis, Jim’s former opponents for chairman and members of the Rubio campaign have called for his resignation.  They’ve cast misstatements (ie losses in the senate, house and cabinet), lies (that we are bankrupt when we have over $1.5 million in the bank) and hurtful personal indictments that I won’t repeat.  They’ve engaged in demagoguery of the lowest kind.  They’ve impugned a good man’s character because they didn’t like who he personally supported in a race.  Over the years, I’ve considered each of the men involved in this to be a friend, but I am so disappointed and disgusted in their actions I can’t hold my tongue any more.  

There are many races that are crucial to our party’s success, not just one US Senate race.  We will have the fight of our lives to keep the governor’s mansion, attorney general and agriculture commissioner, and we have a tremendous chance at getting the CFO office back after four years of democratic occupancy.  We have a viable chance at winning back the two congressional seats we lost last time, and inside observers believe we could go from 26 to 29 seats in the senate and 76 to 80+ seats in the house.  We cannot and should not burn down this house because of a disagreement over who would be the best Republican senate nominee.  The brilliant men that founded this great country knew the place to decide such things was at the ballot box, and we will all have the chance to cast a vote next August.  Jim has promised that party resources will not be used until a nominee is selected, so in my mind, that discussion should be over. 

Like all of you, I’ve had constructive conversations about the future of our party.  I’ve learned that our party does its best work when it engages in a healthy debate, settles its differences at the ballot box, then unifies to defeat the democrats.  Ask yourself the following questions: 

If getting over 3/4s of the vote in your election, earning national respect and winning a confidence vote of 90% of your executive board isn’t enough to keep your job and stay focused on defeating democrats, what is?

 If clearly agreeing to keep the party out of the primary for the US Senate isn’t enough to keep all sides happy, what will?

Does it seem to you that the liberal press is REALLY enjoying our “civil war”?  If yes, does it occur to you that maybe it’s because this never ending infighting is hurting the Republican party of Florida?

Are the people who keep calling for Jim to resign all supporters of Marco Rubio or Paula Dockery?

 Would a complete overhaul of our party ten months out from the general election with a race for the governorship, cabinet, congress and legislature help or hurt our efforts to strengthen our party and keep those offices?

In conclusion, I’d like to touch on one particularly serious breach of trust committed by Allen Cox.  His decision to release the internal budget documents of the RPOF has been called treason, and I believe that it is.  Every member of the budget committee, including Cox, who served as its chairman of the committee for the last seven years, is required to sign a confidentiality clause when he does so.  Mr. Cox turned this document over to the press, and in so doing did extraordinary damage to our party.  It is my belief that he should be removed from the committee altogether for doing so.

Doing this clearly demonstrated to the media, and to the democrats, where we were allocating our money, and where we would be focusing future expenditures.  This would be like Urban Meyer, Randy Shannon or Jimbo Fisher giving the playbook to the opposing team, then telling them what play was coming next.  It is an unforgiveable transgression that no doubt has the people at the Florida Democratic Party rejoicing.  My confidence in the integrity and leadership of Allen Cox is gone forever.

 I assume that you, like me and like Jim Greer, spend a lot of your time and personal resources fighting for the Republican party because you believe so deeply in what it stands for.  Like us, you believe that the America we have enjoyed and the values that have made it special are under attack.  I am pleading with you to consider the long lasting implications of acquiescing to this bitter, but loud, minority.   How would any future chairman take bold leadership actions when the whim of a small minority could force him out?  This is not about whom you choose to support in any given race, it’s about being a party of resolve and discipline.  If we fall prey to the most discontented among us, opting to shift with every wind, I would have to ask you how we are any better than the democrats that we aim to defeat?

Sincerely yours,

James H. Stelling, III

Chairman, RPOF Rules Committee

Vice Chairman, RPOF, 1999-2003

Treasurer, RPOF, 1995-1999

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:11pm]


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