Monday, November 20, 2017
Politics

Pinellas GOP leaders say cancer quip merits resignation

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Pinellas Republican leaders are calling for the resignation of State Committeeman Dan Tucker over his remarks about a fellow GOP official's battle with cancer.

In a statement late Monday afternoon, Pinellas GOP chairman Michael Guju said the party has been trying to handle the matter internally through conversations with Tucker.

"Unfortunately, he has refused to do what is in the best interests of the party and resign," Guju said in the statement. "Thus, the executive board of the Pinellas Republican Party publicly condemns the insensitive comments and unanimously calls for Mr. Tucker to resign as state committeeman."

Last week, Tucker posted via social media a disparaging remark about County Commissioner John Morroni's decision to endorse a Democrat for St. Petersburg City Council.

"Doesn't he have cancer of the brain ... hmmm?" Tucker commented, referencing Morroni's battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that is now in remission.

As a committeeman, Tucker is elected by Republican voters in Pinellas, and the local GOP cannot force him out.

On Friday, State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said that if Tucker refused to step down, he would ask the chairman of the state Republican Party to remove him.

Tucker declined to discuss the situation on Monday evening.

"I feel that it's a private issue, and I'm not going to be discussing it," he told the Times. "No comment."

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