web analytics
Your Independent Alternative!

State GOP Gets Set for Meeting, Clouds Loom Over Greer

With state Republican leaders gathering for a closed-door meeting this week – that could include a few calls for Chairman Jim Greer’s ouster -- a maverick county chairman weighed in Tuesday with a list of what he called GOP problems, and potential solutions.

Jason Steele, the victim of a Republican dirty tricks effort now dubbed Twittergate, E-mailed to state party officials ten problems he sees plaguing the party – along with a means to fix them.

“If I can become the poster boy for reform in this party, then that’s an honor I’d be happy to have,” Steele told the News Service of Florida.

According to Steele, the party’s paramount problem: There is no oversight of Chairman Jim Greer. He wants a committee established to hold the chairman accountable.

Steele also demands that endorsement of candidates in primary contests be allowed only if a state party committee recommends it.

Steele said the standard would ease bitterness flooding through the GOP, spawned by the Charlie Crist-Marco Rubio U.S. Senate race and another combative primary for governor between Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Although not a member of the panel, Steele is hoping some of the problems and solutions he lays out will emerge when the state party’s executive committee huddles Thursday in Lake County’s Howey-in-the-Hills – the leadership group’s second meeting in as many weeks aimed at reuniting the splintered party.

“We’re a party that should be ready to have a good cycle and we’re wasting valuable resources and time arguing about these things,” said Broward County Republican Chairman Chip DeMarco, who will be among the 48 executive committee members meeting in Central Florida.

DeMarco acknowledged that Thursday’s meeting will likely include more criticism of what some call Greer’s heavy-handed leadership. Such views colored a teleconference held last week by the executive committee that set the stage for this week’s gathering in relatively remote Howey-in-the-Hills.

“I certainly don’t expect (Greer) to offer his resignation, nor do I expect serious calls for it,” DeMarco said.

For his part, Gov. Crist, the beneficiary of Greer’s informal endorsement, gave the chairman similar support right back Tuesday.

“As to his status, I think he’s done a great job. I have tremendous confidence in Chairman Greer,” Crist said.

Asked whether the party should steer clear of endorsing candidates, Crist ducked: “I look forward to elections,” he said.

Another party favorite, McCollum, also wanted to stay out of the intra-party fight.

“I want the party to make its decisions,” McCollum said, adding, “by and large this has to be done by them, not me.”

McCollum said,“I’m raising money for the party because I’m running for governor and I want to become the nominee of the party and that money is going to go largely to elect myself and hopefully other Cabinet officers of my party.”

Steele, however, who called for Greer’s firing last week on the same day Republican leaders were gathering for their teleconference, said that without stricter limits on endorsements, Republican unity isn’t likely.

Greer earlier this month fired field director Tim Nungesser for posting a fake Twitter account aimed at discrediting Steele, who had been put on probation by the state party for “disloyalty” after criticizing Greer and other officials.

“What happened to me should not have happened, and I didn’t seek it out,” Steele said. “But the perception that the party is playing favorites has become the reality. And we can’t turn things around until we get serious about stopping the bleeding.”

6 Responses »

  1. One of the reasons I got involved with the REC is the destructive inclinations of the party hurt working Republicans like myself. Can we not use a modicum of the reasoning power that makes us Republicans instead of Democrats.

    1. It stands to reason that Party leadership is personally going to favor the Governor of the state. These people have a history of working together and achieved a victory (Governors' election) together. Why would it surpirse anyone with a brain that these people will continue to support each other?

    2. The leadership must understand that they are the leaders: not the electric-prod carriers. The grass roots is just as important as the candidate, and the candidate (and leadership) should always remember that. We're Republicans: we think, we have intellect, and sometimes we're going to disagree with you. Your respect for the grass roots will determine your response to those who may disagree with you right now, but are still on the bigger team.

    3. Dirty tricks against Republicans is "verbotten" (Quote Sgt Shultz). When we disagree, it must be on substance, not personal attacks. Now we all say "amen" to that, and yet when the polls get tight, we resort to personal attacks. Keep that up and the Party will be so fractured that we'll be lucky to get a dog catcher elected.

    4. When there are disagreements, they should be addressed behind our doors, our walls: not aired in the public forums, anc certainly not throught the old-media just to get an upper-hand in the public eye. Anyone who does this forfeits any expectation of support from the faction supporting your primary opponent.

    5. Rare are the times when a Party member is really a monster: stop accusing them of such. If you disagree about a policy, make the policy the issue. Only the weak minded denigrate to name calling.

    We have a perfect strombrewing in Washington; a storm that will make our party the party in America chooses to be her leadership. Anyone throwing temper tantrums, or behaving like an adolescent must be turned out. For the good of the party, and subsequently for the good of the nation.

    'nuff said.

  2. When and where exactly is this meeting?

  3. The Republican Party rule requires the leadership remain neutral during a primary. It's that simple. This rule is fair and provides a level playing field to all the candidates.

    "Temper tantrums" or freedom to debate and dissent? Who decides? Greer's interpretation has led to his continuing purge of conservatives from the Party. Actions that stifle free speech are not "good" for the Party or the nation.

    I disagree with the hush-hush policy. How is the average Republican voter who is not involved in a leadership position going to find out if they are getting the representation they deserve if Party news is not aired in public? Secrecy can lead to misrepresentation, but maybe that’s the objective.

  4. If there were not "secrecy breaches" in the first place, this would not be a public issue. The assertion that the ordinary Republican would not be informed is a misnomer: NY23 proved that point very well.

  5. I don’t want my following comments to be mistaken as an endorsement of Chairman Greer and/or the State Party. However, I find two issues to be surprisingly odd and contradictory.

    First, Chairman Greer was just recently re-elected with an overwhelming majority. His current behavior is congruent with his past actions and loyalties. There are really no surprises here, other than how he won with such a large margin if in fact he is so unpopular.

    Secondly, and most intellectually dishonest are those that attack Chairman Greer for his “informal endorsement”, yet they stage straw polls in County REC’s which will benefit Rubio. If the argument is that a straw poll that has a predictable outcome in favor of Rubio, is different from Greer’s behavior, then would it then be okay for the Chairman Greer’s Leadership Team to take a “Straw Poll” and announce those results? It all just seems odd and suggests a typical hypocrisy that flies in the face of those calling for change.

  6. Other than power brokers meeting in a restaurant to choose Scozzafava as the NY23 Republican candidate, I was unaware that the inner operations of the NY R Party had effected the election. I thought voters rejected her because of her positions on the issues. Please explain further.

    In Florida, it appears that Party executive committees and officers selectively choose which Party rules to follow and which to conveniently ignore, if it suits their purpose.

    Informed? I doubt most Republicans could name even one of the people Chairman Greer has removed from the Party because they disagreed with him in public.