As pressure builds for him to step down as chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Jim Greer announced Monday that the party raised a hefty $4.5 million in the final three months of 2009.
That's the GOP's strongest fundraising quarter for the year and may give the embattled chairman some ammunition against the growing chorus of critics calling for his ouster. Details including where the money came from and how much had been spent will not be available until reports are due next week.
Party leaders are scheduled to meet in Orlando on Saturday to consider pushing Greer out, and another broadside against the controversial chairman came Monday from nine Republican former legislative leaders.
"We are seeing what we were part of building deteriorating, and deteriorating rapidly. It is essential that the party change direction before it is too late to reverse the trend," wrote former Republican House Minority Leader Ron Richmond in a letter to Greer endorsed also by former House Minority Leaders Jim Tillman, Bill James, Curt Kiser, Dale Patchett, Jim Lombard, Sandra Mortham and former Speakers Daniel Webster and Tom Feeney. The letter cited Greer's meddling in Republican primaries, as well as "expense accounts for some elected officials, chartered jets for party leaders, and other gross expenditures of funds not related to furthering the best interests of the party." It noted that a dozen top GOP fundraisers also are insisting Greer step down.
While some critics are hoping Greer may step aside quietly before the weekend, there's no certainty he will lose his position, particularly as Gov. Charlie Crist has continued to stand firmly behind him. A spokeswoman for Crist's U.S. Senate campaign said nothing had changed.
Florida Democrats have not revealed their latest fundraising totals, but a spokesman said the reports will show 2009 was their strongest ever off-election year for fundraising.
Adam C. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.