Jim Greer may be chairman of the Florida Republican Party as long as Charlie Crist stands behind him, but his wings are getting clipped.
The state GOP is about to announce the formation of Victory 2010, the Republican finance operation to help elect the next governor and other state candidates. Co-chairmen include former state House Speaker Allan Bense, lobbyist and former state party chairman Al Cardenas, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and state party finance chairman John Rood.
What sets this committee apart from prior ones, numerous fundraisers have been told, is that it will be structured to restrict Greer's ability to spend party money. Fair or not, he has a reputation for entourages and lavish spending, and many donors are wary about how donations to the state Republican Party might be spent. Under Victory 2010, checks would have to be signed both by Greer and Bense.
"There's definitely some people within the party that want to be assured about party spending," said Broward Republican Party chairman Chip LaMarca, who was unaware of the new arrangement for party spending.
A party spokeswoman declined to say how spending decisions would be authorized.
"The (party) organizes a victory effort every cycle. Florida Victory 2010 is no different. We raised over $4 million last quarter because donors are confident in the chairman's leadership and the Republican message," said spokeswoman Katie Betta.
Sink, the antipolitician
Talking to Democrats in Orlando Saturday night, Alex Sink cast the gubernatorial race as a choice between a fresh start and a career politician:
"This is no ordinary recession. These times call for something more than a career politician as our next governor. Bill McCollum has spent more than 30 years as a professional politician. Twenty years in Washington. Six years as a special-interest lobbyist. This run for governor is his 14th political campaign.
"Now, give Bill McCollum some credit. He's done a very good job of making sure he always has a job. But what about jobs for everybody else? This is no time for politics as usual. Not now. Not with the challenges we face."
Public option politics
Every time Bill Nelson spoke to Florida Democrats at their annual convention in Disney World this weekend, people chanted. "Public option! Public option!" The senator assured activists he did vote for one public option insurance proposal that failed. Meanwhile, gubernatorial candidate Sink steadfastly refuses to take any position on a public option.
Democrats love the 'die quickly' line
The newest superstar Democrat for Florida liberals is U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, who made national news for suggesting the GOP plan for health care is to "die quickly." Grayson drew roars and attaboys everywhere he went.
"What does it mean to be a Democrat? It's very simple: We have a conscience," Grayson said Saturday. "Everyone in this room with a conscience, get on your feet!" And they did.
Crist's problem is he's so successful?
The problem with being as successful a money-raiser as Crist is that expectations tend to be huge. Some of the spin we're hearing from Marco Rubio folks about Crist raising $2.4 million last quarter: Rubio's numbers are growing and Crist's are shrinking. Many of Crist's supporters have already given the maximum amount allowed, while Rubio is relying largely on small donors who can give again and again. Much of Crist's $6.2 million cash on hand — perhaps more than $2 million — can't be spent until after the primary.
Hear St. Petersburg council candidates
Check out St. Petersburg City Council candidates Jeff Danner and Leonard Schmiege on Political Connections at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Bay News 9 today.
Miami Herald staff writer Beth Reinhard contributed to this report. Adam C. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.