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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Thrasher rival says GOP grass roots were 'disrespected'



SharonDay2 Not so fast John Thrasher, tapped by the top elected Republicans in Florida to be the next chairman of the state party.


Hunkered down in her 30th-floor, waterfront condo in Fort Lauderdale, Republican state and national committeewoman Sharon Day has been working the phones to line up support for her own bid. Nothing against Thrasher or the elected officials who endorsed him, she said, but she was offended by the way he was so swiftly anointed yesterday.

"E-mails about Thrasher started going out even before Jim Greer resigned,'' she said. "The heavy-handedness of what happened yesterday was disrespectful to the committee.''

By committee, Day means the three party leaders elected in each county who vote on the party's chief. Traditionally, the chair comes from the committee. So as negotiations for Greer's exit were under way Monday, Thrasher was quietly added to the executive committee by Senate President Jeff Atwater. That's similar to what happened with Greer, who joined the committee only days before he was elected chairman with Gov. Charlie Crist's backing, though Day pointed out that Thrasher is far better known and has more political experience.

"If you haven't worked with the committee in that environment and you don't understand what it is to volunteer and motivate volunteers, it's impossible to be a leader,'' Day said. "Last time the chairman was handed to us by Charlie Crist and this time it was three people in a room.''

Day also raised concerns about Thrasher serving as both a state senator and party chairman.

"He's going into session soon and on all these committees, so we wouldn't have an active, full-time chairman until June,'' she said. "There's a big void there.''

Beth Reinhard

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:12pm]


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