TAMPA — Last week a top Hillsborough County Republican said she would leave her state party post amid criticism over an e-mail that was attacked as racist, but she has decided she doesn't want to quit after all.
Carol Carter told state GOP chairman Jim Greer Wednesday she wanted to rescind her resignation.
Greer's response? Tough luck.
"His position is she resigned immediately, effective last week," said state party spokeswoman Katie Gordon.
Carter sent Greer an e-mail on Wednesday that was contrite, and included an offer to participate in racial sensitivity training, Gordon said. Carter also argued that her resignation wasn't official because she never filed papers with the county Supervisor of Elections Office.
But after consulting with attorneys, Greer concluded Carter's resignation last week was final.
"The matter before us today is not whether the e-mail justified a resignation or disciplinary action. Rather whether procedurally a member of the state committee may submit a verbal and written resignation and then reconsider the decision after the resignation has become effective," Greer said in a prepared statement late Wednesday.
"I have determined that no such procedural availability exists to rescind Ms. Carter's resignation. The resignation stands, and the office is hereby declared vacant," he said.
Carter could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
On Jan. 30, Carter forwarded the e-mail to eight people, with the subject line: "Amazing!"
The text read:
"How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in 1 day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?"
Carter followed up with an apology saying she was sorry the first missive "was received in a negative manner. I do hope that we are going to be allowed to keep our sense of humor."
After several conversations with Greer, Carter submitted her resignation from her position as a state committeewoman for Hillsborough County.
The local GOP's next meeting is Feb. 17, and election of a new committeewoman by members of executive committee is scheduled for March 17. Among those seeking to replace Carter: Heather Weintrobe and Mel Jurado.
Jurado, 50, is an industrial psychologist and management consultant. Her husband, Rod, 51, previously served as vice chairman of the local party.
He said he felt sorry for Carter after the resignation, and called to offer condolences, then asked Carter who she would like to succeed her.
"Her first words out of her mouth were 'your wife,' " he said. "I love Carol, and she's taught me an awful lot. She's taught Mel an awful lot. But she's turned her resignation in. She can't say 'Do over; I changed my mind.' "
Janet Zink can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3401.