Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando GOP Unity Rally a memory as sniping resumes

Remember the unity rally?

It was meant to bring county Republicans together, to heal feelings hurt by last year's nasty primary elections. As described by Republican Executive Committee chairwoman Ana Trinque, you could almost picture party members draping their arms around one another and pledging to let bygones be bygones.

Apparently, it didn't work.

This Saturday, the REC will hold another big event, the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. It's a $50-per-plate affair that features Marco Rubio, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and hero of tax-slashing Republicans.

But one prominent party member, Brooksville Realtor Gary Schraut, didn't receive his invitation.

Worse still, the REC turned down his offer to pay $250 for a full-page ad on the back cover of the dinner's program, as he has every year for a decade.

"I've been blacklisted,'' he said.

In a March 5 e-mail, REC member Mary Lou Wright told Schraut his money wasn't welcome because he had supported a Democrat in last year's general election: "It is unfortunate that your interests in this instance were at odds with your purported Republicanism.''

This kind of affront cuts deep in a way that is hard for many of us to imagine. It's like reading a 19th century novel and wondering why a misplaced calling card can lead, in the course of a few pages, to gentlemen slapping one another with white gloves and ordering their seconds to arrange a duel.

Democrats do it, too. A few years ago, you may remember, the DEC chairman was accusing another member of karate-chopping his wife's wrist.

So, these goings-on are common in local parties. They have little bearing on our daily lives. If you chose to ignore them, I not only wouldn't blame you, I'd applaud your good sense.

Except that in this case, the local division seems to reflect a national Republican split. There are moderates (or converted moderates) who have denounced the party's pandering to the Christian right and myopic insistence on tax cuts.

Then there are hardliners who think the party's main problem is that it strayed too far to the left.

"We had the ideal moderate candidate (in John McCain) and we got nowhere,'' said Wright, who places herself in the second camp both locally and nationally.

She wouldn't discuss the details of Schraut's supposed heresy, and two other party leaders mentioned in her e-mail — Trinque and Tom Hogan Sr. — didn't return phone calls requesting interviews.

So I can only guess, as Schraut did, that this goes back to last year's election of County Commissioner Jim Adkins, whom Trinque seemed to support even in the primary.

Adkins has so far made his mark with suggestions such as a proposed moratorium on impact fees that would return the county to its overreliance on home building and, by the way, undermine community-building that could attract long-term investment.

Schraut said he didn't support Adkins' rival, Democrat Chris Kingsley. He just made the reasonable decision not to oppose him because, as I saw it, Kingsley voted in favor of just about every development that came down the pike.

And what could be more Republican than that?

Hernando GOP Unity Rally a memory as sniping resumes 03/19/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 19, 2009 7:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official


    Here is the release from the team ...


  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Update: Scientology cancels planned mock FBI raid on downtown building

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology planned to film a mock FBI raid on a downtown building Monday afternoon, but the actors and cameras never showed up to the location disclosed to the city.

    According to Clearwater Police, the Church of Scientology plans to hold a mock FBI raid at 3 p.m. Monday at this vacant building at 305 N Fort Harrison Ave. Police announced the raid in advance to alert the public. They said they did not know the reason for the event. [Google Earch image]
  5. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]