ST. PETERSBURG — Though GOP officials are calling on him to step down, Pinellas Republican Party state committeeman Dan Tucker said Tuesday he refuses to resign after his Facebook comment about County Commissioner John Morroni's health drew local vitriol.
"They're going to have to kick me out," he said.
Last week, Tucker posted via social media a disparaging remark about Morroni's decision to endorse Darden Rice, a Democrat, for St. Petersburg City Council.
"Doesn't he have cancer of the brain … hmmm?" Tucker wrote, referencing Morroni's battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is now in remission.
Tucker, a tea party activist, has since called Morroni, a Republican, to apologize.
State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who called the comment "appalling," said if Tucker doesn't resign today, he will write a letter to Lenny Curry, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, asking for his dismissal.
"He has the authority (to remove Tucker)," Latvala said. "We want to see him out of that office."
Pinellas GOP chairman Michael Guju said in a statement Monday that the party tried 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 wrote. "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."