For weeks now, Republicans have been calling for Republican Party State Chairman Jim Greer's resignation. Greer has resisted citing Governor Charlie Crist wishes him to stay- apparently until now.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting a Republican insider says Governor Crist came to the realization this weekend that having the embattled Greer as Chairman was hurting him.
Rumor has it his replacement will be newly elected state Senator John Thrasher of Jacksonville. Thrasher won the special election to replace the late Jim King last year. You might remember Thrasher from his time in the state House where in 1997 he was the primary sponsor of the bill to ban gay marriage in Florida.
Greer is scheduled to have a press conference at 1:15pm today. He will resign his post effective in February.
Does this move signal an official end to the "Crist" moderate Republicans?
In a statement Crist had this to say about Greer's resignation:
“I would like to commend my friend Chairman Jim Greer for his selfless dedication to the Republican Party of Florida over the last three years. Under Chairman Greer’s leadership we maintained a strong majority in Florida’s Congressional Delegation and overwhelming majorities in the State House and Senate.
“Jim has long been a loyal servant to the Republican cause, and I appreciate the many sacrifices the Chairman, his wife Lisa, and their four children have made to ensure our Party’s continued success in the Sunshine State. Chairman Greer has and always will have my unwavering support.
“I call on Florida Republicans to unite behind our common values of less government and more personal freedom and sincerely hope that we can move forward together to ensure
statewide Republican victories in 2010.”
Democrats are responding with a statement of their own. Florida Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson expressed concern incoming leader Thrasher would head a political party, while remaining in the legislature.
“...I am deeply concerned over the news that a fellow Senator may take over as head of a major political party while maintaining his legislative membership.
"In a body that has long been known and respected for its collegiality, its decorum, and most of all, its bi-partisan independence, a decision to simultaneously remain in this Senate while leading the Republican Party of Florida threatens its very foundation. You cannot serve two masters.
“Floridians are among the growing numbers of Americans whose cynicism and distrust of government have deepened as scandal followed scandal, and politicians followed their own self interests rather than the interests of the people. A move such as this would only further heighten that alienation.
“In addition, our own rules not only bar any Senator from raising money for a political party during a legislative session, they also preclude any Senator from allowing personal employment ‘to impair his or her independence of judgment in the exercise of [their] official duties...’