Rick Scott names Fla GOP appointees for chair election
Gov. Rick Scott has made his long-awaited appointees to the Republican Executive Committee, and it’s quite a hodge-podge. Heavy on healthcare types, North Florida folks and FORs (Friends of Rick), the appointees have the unenviable task of voting in the increasingly nasty Republican Party of Florida chairman’s race. The appointees are in alphabetical order:
1) John Colon, longtime Sarasota party activist and FOR, as well as Jennifer Carrol supporter.
2) Tom Grady, former Naples state Rep.
3) Mike Hightower, major Republican money man and Blue Cross lobbyist
4) Adam Hollingsworth, Scott campaign/transition hand and Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton aide.
5) Scott Hopes, 25-year FOR and healthcare lobbyist
6) Alan Levine, healthcare wiz/consultant and former HCA employee/Jeb Bush appointee/Bobby Jindal appointee
7) Manny Morono, Sweetwater mayor and early Scott supporter
8) Bo Rivard, lawyer-lobbyist from the Panhandle and FOR
9) John Rood, Republican party elder statesman and former ambassador
10) Susie Wiles, Scott campaign manager.
In a few not-for-attribution interviews with the Scott appointees, they’ve said Scott has given them no direction. He has met with all the candidates. He likes some more than others. The Scott appointees also say it’s clear what we’ve said before: The race right now looks like a struggle between Hillsborough County Chair Debbie Cox-Roush and Jefferson State Committeeman Dave Bitner
...On the first round of voting Saturday (and there could be multiple rounds), Cox-Roush seems likely to come in first, with Bitner in second. Note the “seems” here. Anything can happen. Still, if the likely scenario plays out, then the big question is where do the supporters of Sarasota Chairman Joe Gruters, Pinellas Committeeman Tony DiMatteo and Palm Beach Chairman Sid Dinerstein go? And what about the House appointees of Speaker Cannon? A few say they’re undecided.
That makes Friday and Saturday all the more crucial for the five candidates before the Saturday vote.