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Rebellion stirs as state GOP leader gets vote of confidence

TALLAHASSEE — Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer got a strong vote of confidence Thursday but the rebellion against him continued to fester, with a longtime party fundraiser calling for his resignation.

The 25-2 vote came at the party's quarterly executive board meeting in Tallahassee, considered friendly turf for Greer. He has spent months deflecting criticism of lavish spending, hardball political tactics and favoritism in statewide primaries for governor and U.S. Senate.

Republican National Committeeman Paul Senft called for the vote "in the interest of party unity and for public clarification (that the board has) full confidence in our duly elected chairman, Jim Greer." The motion, quickly passed with no discussion, appeared to have been sprung on the board.

Greer said he's "done everything" to address concerns, including cutting up party-issued credit cards.

But fresh signs that Gov. Charlie Crist's hand-picked party chairman is under fire include a petition calling for a meeting to recall him from office, and a letter from longtime GOP fundraiser Al Hoffman saying Greer should resign.

"It is time for you to resign in order to end the excessive, irresponsible, unethical, and perhaps illegal spending that has marked your administration and has moved the Republican Party from millions of dollars in surplus at the time you took office to millions of dollars in deficit by the end of this month," wrote Hoffman, a former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Greer said he is misinformed. At the meeting, the party treasurer said the state GOP had $1.4 million on hand.

Pasco County Republican State Committeeman Bill Bunting, normally outspoken, would not directly say whether Thursday's vote reflected confidence in Greer.

"I just don't know if that's the case. I'll just leave it at that," Bunting said.

Times political editor Adam C. Smith and Times/Herald staff writer John Frank contributed to this report.

Rebellion stirs as state GOP leader gets vote of confidence 12/10/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:44pm]
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