Calls for Greer’s Resignation Growing Louder Among Top Republicans
The latest call came Tuesday from 12 prominent Republicans around the state, most of them major contributors, who urged Greer to resign and called for his removal if he doesn't.
“There must be a change in order to restore total confidence in our party's ability to conserve its assets, save and protect them for the specific purpose of electing Republicans in their campaigns; not only in 2010 election cycle but also to not carry forward debt if possible for the next 2012 election cycle,” said the letter.
Signatories included prominent contributors Chuck Cobb, Ned Siegel, Mel Sembler and Al Hoffman, all major Republican donors who have been rewarded for their activism with ambassadorships. Party officials plan to meet next the second weekend in January in Orlando and hashing out Greer's future will be the main event.
Greer, who has the backing of the party's top elected official, Gov. Charlie Crist, doesn't appear to be backing down.
“The chairman fully intends to serve the remainder of his elected term,” Republican Party of Florida spokeswoman Katie Gordon Betta said Wednesday. “He looks forward to a positive discussion with the state committee during the annual meeting next weekend.”
Greer has said party rules do not allow for his opponents to call for rescinding results of the vote last year in which 77 percent of party leaders re-elected him to a second, two-year term. The group said it was “agonizing” to call publicly 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. “Many months have passed with no response from Mr. Greer to private appeals for a change in course of action, and now with less than a year until the primary elections, we must set our internal house in order straight away to achieve victory in November,” the group continued.
“The best interests of the party would be for Mr. Greer to resign now,” the letter said. “Failing this, he should be removed as quickly as possible.”
The signers of the letter cited three grievances with Greer's running of the party. First, the group cited an “inability to raise the necessary resources to fund its budget.”
Greer has maintained that the party has a $1.5 million budget surplus. But Allen Cox, who was stripped by Greer earlier this month of his role as budget committee chairman for leaking internal documents to the media, said the Florida GOP is running a $4 million operating deficit under Greer. Cox, who has been one of the leaders of the effort to remove Greer, has said repeatedly that the finances of the party are the primary complaint against the chairman.
The letter writers also cited an inability to control “unnecessary expenses” and the party leadership's “inability to motivate and unite all Republicans in a common effort for our collective benefit.”
Some grass roots Republican leaders have complained that the Tallahassee operation seems to want to take sides in major statewide races – inlcuding Crist's effort to win a U.S. Senate seat. Former House Speaker Marco Rubio is challenging Crist and has won the backing of some conservatives in the party. Another Greer critic has been Paula Dockery, who is running for governor in the GOP primary against Bill McCollum.
Greer, a former Oviedo city councilman chosen to be party leader by Crist, has blamed Rubio's campaign for stirring up some of the opposition to Greer's leadership.
In addition to Cobb, Hoffman, Siegel, and Sembler, signers of the letter sent Tuesday night were: Richard Beard of Tampa, William Becker of Vero Beach, Seth Bernstein of Orlando, J.C. Demetree of Jacksonville, Earl Durden and Charles Hilton of Panama City, Mark Guzetta of Boca Raton, and Ed Easton of Miami.