Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GOP donors call for removal of Florida party leader

TALLAHASSEE — A dozen prominent political donors have added their names to the growing list of those calling for the resignation of embattled state Republican Party chairman Jim Greer.

Included in that list are two prominent Tampa Bay political donors — former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Mel Sembler and Richard Beard, a past chairman of the University of South Florida's governing board. Both signed the letter delivered this week arguing that Greer's spot at the top of the party hurts fundraising and morale among the GOP faithful.

"The best interests of the party would be for Mr. Greer to resign now," reads the letter, signed by 12 top party donors. "Failing this, he should be removed as quickly as possible."

Party leaders will meet Jan. 8 and 9 in Orlando, and Greer's future as chairman should be a main topic of conversation. Activists say they will try to remove him as chairman at the meeting. Greer said party rules do not allow them to do so.

Despite the calls for him to step down, Greer remains defiant. From party spokeswoman Katie Gordon Betta: "The chairman fully intends to serve the remainder of his elected term. He looks forward to a positive discussion with the state committee during the annual meeting next weekend."

A message left Wednesday on Greer's cell phone was not returned.

Sembler's name at the bottom of the letter is perhaps the most surprising. The St. Petersburg developer is a longtime backer of Gov. Charlie Crist, and his son, Brent, is close friends with the governor. Crist handpicked Greer as chairman and continues to support him.

The donors wrote that it is agonizing to publicly call for Greer's resignation.

"But it would not have come to this had Jim Greer heeded warning calls and implemented a strategic plan of action for our Republican candidates as a competent state chairman should and would," the group wrote. "We must set our internal house in order straight away to achieve victory in November."

Some activists complain Greer is taking sides in major statewide primaries such as the U.S. Senate race pitting Crist against former House Speaker Marco Rubio. Greer has made no bones about his personal preference for Crist, but said the party is officially neutral.

In a letter to the party on Dec. 21, Greer called it treason that some party members are "airing dirty laundry" in an effort to oust him.

"What I do not enjoy is the support of one of the Republican primary campaigns for the United States Senate," he wrote, in an apparent reference to the Rubio campaign. "While this is unfortunate, I will not let the efforts of one campaign deter me from the mission I accepted in February 2009."

Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this report. Lee Logan can be reached at (850) 224-7263 or

GOP donors call for removal of Florida party leader 12/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: The choice does not have to be poverty or gentrification

    Local Government

    The memories must be protected. The music and the lore, too.

    The owner of Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food is refusing to give the city information on the restaurant's sales as required by his contract to occupy the city-owned Manhattan Casino. The information is needed to calculate whether the nonprofit Urban Development Solutions, headed by Larry Newsome, owes the city more than the $3,000 monthly base rent.
  2. Tests show North Korea earthquake not caused by nuclear test


    SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

    People watch a TV news program reporting North Korea's earthquake, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. South Korea's weather agency said an earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural. The signs read " The weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea." [Associated Press]
  3. New 6.2 magnitude earthquake centered in southern Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Geological Survey says the new earthquake to strike Mexico had a magnitude of 6.2 and was centered in the southern state of Oaxaca.

  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests


    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.