by Javier Manjarres
After handing a devastating defeat to the Florida GOP Establishment, the State GOP almost immediately called for “unity” with conservative outsider and businessman Rick Scott. Those same politicos who were adamantly hoping for Scott’s demise had not even finished their first serving of ‘baked crow’ before looking to make amends with Scott and offer their support to this candidacy, but such is politics. As we reported a few days ago, RPOF Chairman Thrasher visited Scott and several other McCollum supporters, including Adam Hasner, Mike Haridopolous and Dean Cannon, who all extended their warm congratulations and support to the winner. The RPOF, as well as all down the ballot Republican candidates will need Scott’s help because of the fact that the state party is near broke and will not be able to offer the usual support to both state and federal candidates without a little ‘help’ from Mr. Scott.
Since then, countless of other politicos from every corner of the state that opposed Scott’s candidacy have followed suit. This weekend in Miami, an event the Hialeah Victory office opening was headlined by Congressman’s Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, U.S. Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio, Congressional candidate David Rivera, State Representatives Bovo, Fresen, Cantera, Sweetwater Mayor Manny Morono, and many others,, and the theme of the day was, you guessed it, GOP unity. All of the Miami politicos (all supported McCollum, except for Morono) expressed their unabated support for Rick Scott, and all vowed to do whatever it takes to help him beat Democrat Alex Sink in November’s general election. U.S. Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio, who was introduced to the crowd with the Rocky theme song blaring (Unbelievably funny!) told me that he met with Scott and told him that he would be supporting his candidacy. Late that same day, Miami GOP boss David Rivera and Congressman Diaz-Balart hosted a luncheon for all of the Republican candidates who lost this past Tuesday-kudos to them for displaying unifying leadership.
This sentiment is starting to become felt all over the state-which is a good thing. However, many concerns about loyalty are still coming out of Broward County’s GOP establishment and its supporters. It is fair to say that the Broward GOP has been one, if not the most distraught REC’s following the Scott victory. This past Saturday, I briefly attended the ‘unity’ breakfast and my doubts about this so called unity in the county were solidified, when I saw no less than (3) cars with newly affixed Charlie Crist for Senate bumperstickers on there back windows and bumpers. This doesn’t pass the smell test for “unity” in my book- a Republican unity event where some of the, so called ‘Republicans’ are still supporting Crist, a turncoat Independent over Marco Rubio in the Senate race?
We all know that the Broward GOP was in the tank for Crist before he abandoned the party, and were openly for McCollum against Scott, but to still support Crist after all that he has said and done is beyond ridiculous. Or how about that fact that a certain Broward GOP official(who is eating his second plate of fried crow right now) pulled a dirty trick on one of the top Republicans in the country by spreading a false rumor and picture to help influence the McCollum campaign. Would it have been above board to lower oneself to do same to another Broward GOP official by releasing photos of said official waiving a McCollum for Governor sign in protest of Rick Scott, and then waiving that same sign on busy street corner?
You see, if real GOP unity existed, responsible people would not be releasing photos and video that would undoubtedly expose and embarrass the official and the party. All this behavior is understandable, well sort of. When Charlie Crist jumped ship, and ex-GOP boss Jim ‘I am indicted’ Greer was arrested, much of the clout that these state and local Republican officials had, or at least thought they had, went right out the window. Couple that with the election-day loss by Bill McCollum-the last chance they had to retain any influence in the state, you can almost feel bad for them and understand their pain. Not!
Politics is a rough and tumble sport, and I think all these hard feelings will come to pass over the next week or so, and you never know, McCollum may come out and swallow his pride and back Scott against Sink. We are witnessing a changing of the guard in the RPOF, as witnessed by this past primary election, as well as next year’s RPOF elections with the new de-facto leaders of the state party, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. Hopefully, there will be many new changes to the state GOP as well as local Republican groups that will foster GOP unity and solidify the GOP’s mobilization efforts as it seeks to regain its standing and its political power across the country.