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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tea Party leader wants GOP to 'step back' from Scott



The Republican Party of Florida's quarterly meeting takes place this weekend at the Disney Dolphin resort near Orlando, and Saturday's executive board meeting promises to be livelier than usual.

Lake County Republican State Committeewoman Patricia Sullivan, who's also a leader of the local tea party movement, said she will ask RPOF chairman Lenny Curry and other party leaders to "step back" from Gov. Rick Scott and not provide financial, verbal or other support for him until after the 2014 party primary. Scott at the moment has no serious opposition for the GOP nomination, but a persistent and noisy backlash from tea party members could become a serious distraction for him.

Sullivan was an early and avid supporter of Scott, but she abandoned all support for the governor after he publicly endorsed an expansion of the Medicaid program last month. In an interview Friday, Sullivan added to her list of Scott grievances the fact that he supports the Common Core education standards, which the Republican National Committee is also considering opposing as a "one-size-fits-all" approach to classroom achievement.

"That is in complete opposition to what Rick Scott is doing," Sullivan said. Scott has noted that 46 states have adopted the Common Core standards, which his website says were developed with input from teachers "that emphasizes analytical problem solving over memorization and simple recitation of facts."

Sullivan said she realizes it's an uphill fight to challenge the party establishment over a sitting governor's record, but added: "We have a new group who are not yes-men and yes-women. We'll have a little bit of a fight on our hands, but that's our job as men and women."

Sullivan, who lives in Mount Dora, organized an event for Scott in February 2011, when the newly-elected governor released his first set of budget recommendations at a tea party rally at the First Baptist Church in Eustis. Long active in grass-roots Republican politics in suburban Orlando, Sullivan was a Republican candidate for Congress in 2010.

[Last modified: Friday, April 12, 2013 2:48pm]


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