The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up

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Jul
25

There is No “Purge”

By · Jul, 25 2009

A divided Florida GOP prepares for the critical 2010 elections (one US senate seat, the Governor’s Mansion and all three cabinet posts are open next year) facing a resurgent Democratic Party.  ”Impotent” is not the word you want a former state party chair to use in describing the party’s current state of affairs. But that’s what Tom Slade, who led the state GOP for six years in the 90s, has resulted from the party’s constant infighting.

Despite holding nearly two-thirds majorities in both houses and a decade-long hold on the Governor’s Mansion, the schism between the establishment and the party’s grassroots activists threatens to weaken the party, rendering it irrelevant.

While the Crist-Rubio Senate duel receives the national headlines, the bloody, hand-to-hand combat underway on the GOP’s civil war’s frontlines is at the county level. While Governor Charlie Crist remains popular in the Sunshine State, the same can’t be said about his support among the party’s activist base, which views many of Crist’s moderate stances (not to mention embracing Obama’s stimulus funds) as anathema to their conservative ideology.  To make things worse, Crist’s decision to jump from his safe governor’s perch in Tallahasee to run for the Senate seat needlessly gave Democrats an opening to regain meaningful political power in the state. 

Bob Greer, Crist’s handpicked state party chair, has come under fire from these activists for stronghanded tactics (trying to force Rubio from the Senate contest didn’t endear him to the baase). The grassroots feels alienated and marginalized, it’s views ignored.

“The disconnect between our party leadership and our grass roots is the same disconnect between our party leadership and the country,” said Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein. “The country favors term limits, balanced budgets, English as the official language, no amnesty and tax cuts. And the leadership doesn’t.”

The situation has deteriorated enough so that this weekend’s meeting of the party’s Greivance Committee, usually a private, internal process became much more public. In an effort to refute charges the meeting was a “purge” orchestrated by Greer, the Committee Chairman was motivated to write a lengthy explanation about how the party resolves internal conflicts.

“Several recent news stories have mentioned a “purge” of certain members of county Republican Executive Committees. There is no ‘purge.’ To date,Chairman Greer has only removed one person from the leadership structure of the State Party. The removal came at the unanimous recommendation of the Grievance Committee. Contrary to what has been reported, there have been numerous circumstances when the committee has recommended removal and the Chairman has chosen not to remove a member.

“Additionally, the grievances in question do not “kick-out” members of the Republican Party. The parties involved with the grievances are members of the Republican Party of Florida’s leadership structure. Like any organization, we have an obligation to our members to ensure that our leadership abides by the rules of the organization. Our formal grievance process is the mechanism for this review of the conduct of Republican |leaders. A removed member is still a Republican and eligible to participate in Republican activities, but prohibited from holding a leadership position for a set amount of time.         

Ah, these activists aren’t purged, merely exiled. I wonder just how committed to electing Republicans in 2010 these exiled leaders will be? Maybe they’ll be too busy plotting revenge.

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