Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In Pasco, GOP stars fall in

Former Gov. Jeb Bush greets GOP supporters Friday during a fundraiser in Wesley Chapel.

EDWARD LINSMIER | Times

Former Gov. Jeb Bush greets GOP supporters Friday during a fundraiser in Wesley Chapel.

WESLEY CHAPEL — He was the rock star at the Pasco Republicans' Reagan Day dinner just five years ago, but on Friday Gov. Charlie Crist, the recently minted independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, was the man rarely mentioned by name.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, the keynote speaker, called him Marco Rubio's "former Republican opponent."

Rubio, in turn, said: "Gov. Bush, it was great for Florida to have a Republican governor. Remember those days?"

"No funds raised tonight will be spent on a portrait of me," said Pasco GOP chairman Randy Maggard, poking fun both at Crist and the state party's well-publicized controversial spending. "You can laugh. … I've been waiting all night to say it."

How things have changed. U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis said before the dinner began that he'd attended the 2005 dinner where it was Crist who brought the crowd to its feet. "Yeah, I do remember that," he said. "But he abandoned the party and a lot of people are disappointed. … They're very comfortable with Marco."

Bush, making his first campaign appearance with Rubio, praised what he called the courageous efforts of Republican state legislators to pass an education bill that Crist vetoed amid strong opposition from teachers.

The former governor touched on many of the same small-government themes he has long pushed. He said President Barack Obama was pushing "redistribution of wealth" instead of encouraging entrepreneurial growth.

"The demonization of capitalism has got to stop if we're going to save the problems in our country," he said.

Rubio told attendees that a year ago, he was 30 points behind in state polls. In June, the Pasco County GOP became the first group to overwhelmingly endorse Rubio in a straw poll.

"As Pasco's straw poll goes," said Rubio to applause, "so goes the Republican primary."

In comments to reporters later, Rubio reiterated his support for offshore drilling even in the face of the oil slick threatening the environment and the economy. "There's going to be drilling in the gulf whether America's doing it or not," he said, citing Cuba's interest. He said the United States needed to find a way to stop the problem, then figure out what went wrong and how much BP should pay.

About 600 Republicans attended Friday night's fundraiser. Among the attendees were Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is running for governor; state party chairman John Thrasher; Senate President Jeff Atwater; and state Rep. Will Weatherford.

Crist's strongest supporter, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, did not attend because he had a previous commitment to a Relay for Life event in Trinity on Friday.

"The first Lincoln Day dinner, it used to be called the Lincoln Day dinner, in 1984, there was no one here," said Pasco Property Appraiser Mike Wells. "This one, everybody showed up."

One of the more interesting pairs?

U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and Hernando Sheriff Richard Nugent, who walked into the dinner together, shaking hands and posing for photographs.

Just a week ago, Brown-Waite ticked off a number of Pasco and Hernando Republicans when she announced on the last day for filing that she would not run again, then promptly endorsed Nugent, who filed his papers to run just before the deadline. Local Republicans criticized that move as a clandestine ploy that denied them the chance to field other candidates.

But, hey, no hard feelings on Reagan Day.

"So far everybody has been wonderful," Brown-Waite told the St. Petersburg Times. "They're praying for my health. I could've stayed home, fearing a confrontation. But that's not my style."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

In Pasco, GOP stars fall in 05/07/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 7, 2010 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Pinellas sheriff's corporal had racist, sexist, pornographic content on his cell phone

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff's corporal resigned recently after an investigation into an alleged extramarital affair revealed a trove of racist, sexist and pornographic images on his personal cell phone.

    Shawn Pappas, 46, resigned as a training division corporal from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office after an investigation revealed a trove of offensive images and videos on his phone. This photo was taken as a screenshot from one of the videos released by the Sheriff's Office that Pappas filmed while on duty. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine reflects on the news from the Congressional Budget Office analysis that could imperil GOP leaders' hopes of pushing their health care the plan through the chamber this week, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP photo]
  4. Review: Dan Auerbach, Benjamin Booker plumb the past for inspiration on new albums

    Music & Concerts

    It didn't take Benjamin Booker long to get lumped in with the greats. The Tampa-raised singer-songwriter's 2014 self-titled blues-punk debut brought widespread acclaim, not to mention an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, a tour with Jack White and sessions with Mavis Staples.

    The cover of Benjamin Booker's new album "Witness." Credit: ATO Records
  5. Fourth of July in Tampa Bay: parades, hot dog parties, concerts and more things to do

    Events

    Looking for things to do on the Fourth of July in Tampa Bay? There is no shortage of patriotic events, from the Hot Dog Party concerts and eating contest in Tampa, to the parades in Land O' Lakes and Safety Harbor, to the swinging dance party at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine arts, there's an abundance of things to do …

    The annual Independence Day parade in Brandon kicks off at 10 a.m. on July 4 at 101 E Lumsden Road. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times (2015)]