Bitner has chance to show “game on”
By Chris Ingram
Rumor has it that a misguided bunch of misfits and rabble-rousers on the Republican Party of Florida’s state committee will seek the removal of Chairman David Bitner at the party’s quarterly meeting in Orlando this weekend.
Bitner who is just four months into his first term as chairman was recently diagnosed as having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Bitner’s diagnosis was sudden and he currently uses a motorized scooter to move about.
The mutinous bunch of malcontents seeking Bitner’s removal have a long record of throwing bombs at party leaders – sometimes deservedly so, though sometimes not.
In the case of Bitner, their efforts are premature, unwarranted, and inappropriate.
While RPOF big-donor fundraising has been somewhat anemic thus far under Bitner’s watch, poor fundraising is hardly grounds for calling for the chairman’s resignation (the party still has little actual authority to remove the chairman despite the embarrassing Jim Greer fiasco last year).
Bitner’s fundraising woes are certainly driven in part by his health concerns, but who can blame him for being distracted the last few months? It is important to note the money problems didn’t start and don’t stop with Bitner.
Big and small donors continue to hold back after watching Greer and company squander millions with lavish expenditures for non-party business.
Florida’s economy continues to sputter as unemployment remains high and foreclosures continue to be a problem.
Meanwhile, many big-money donors are holding back to wait and see what happens with Florida’s pathetic field of U.S. Senate candidates as well as who emerges in the presidential race before committing dollars to the party.
Additionally, prior to last week members of the state legislature have been precluded by law from raising money while the legislature was in session, and Governor Scott apparently trying to avoid the appearance of impropriety has refrained himself. Expect Scott and a handful of legislative heavy-hitters like Senator John Thrasher to start helping out now that they can; while U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Haridopolos ignores the party’s money problems in favor of lining his own campaign coffers.
But ultimately, the RPOF’s money woes must be addressed by the chairman. Dave Bitner is wise and experienced enough to know he’s got to start getting on the phones more with big donors, and spending less time at county party Lincoln Day dinners.
Now that the session is over, there’s no excuse. Dave Bitner is a fighter. Perhaps the anticipated mutiny this weekend will give him the spark he needs to show the naysayers: game on.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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