Mt. Tallahassee dictating GOP leadership again
Don't underestimate the amount of resentment percolating over Florida Republican elected officials anointing John Thrasher as the next Florida GOP chair with little input from grass roots party officials. RNC member Sharon Day is still very much in the mix, many members of the executive committee say, and she is working the phones stressing to voting members that, unlike Thrasher, she won't be distracted by legislative duties and hampered by 60-day fundraising restrictions.
Elected officials in Tallahassee such as Dean Cannon, Mike Haridopolos, Bill McCollum, and Jeff Atwater were consumed with trying to work out as pain-free an exit for Jim Greer as possible, and that meant lining up a successor the Tallahassee establishment could be generally comfortable with. Allan Bense, Daniel Webster, Joe Negron, Adam Hasner and others were discussed, and apparently Gov. Charlie Crist, after finally seeing Greer's exit as inevitable, concluded Thrasher was the safest choice.
But amid these negotiations among Tallahassee leaders, it seems the elites forgot to talk to and seek input from the grass roots leadership that has a sizable vote in the matter.And it sure didn't help ease concerns when the Bill McCollum campaign issued a press release about state executive committee members touting Thrasher -- and most of the names (notably Jim Stelling and Doug and Janet Adkins) were Greer's main cheerleaders.
"If you look at the people supporting Thrasher, these are all the same people who supported Greer," Pasco GOP committee member Bill Bunting said in our story today.
Florida Republicans are generally pretty good about coming together, and our hunch is this will blow over fairly soon. But there is still plenty of unrest that could make this weekend less drama-free than some party leaders had hoped. Check this quote from Pinellas state Committeewoman Nancy Riley, a fierce Crist supporter who has complained for months about a vocal faction trying to take over the party:
"People who tried to disrupt the party, if they don't get in line we're not going to tolerate it,'' said Riley, a Greer supporter who said he did the honorable thing in stepping down. "We're not going to tolerate this kind of destruction. We're either going to unite, or we're going to get rid of this type of Republican."