Greer resigns state GOP head; Jeb Bush ally will take over
State Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer announced Tuesday he'll resign his post, after months of increasing criticism from within the party over allegations of financial mismanagement and favoritism toward Gov. Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate primary. Greer's resignation and his possible replacement by a conservative legislator who was a strong ally of former Gov. Jeb Bush constitutes yet another blow to Crist, who is leaving the governor's office to seek the Senate seat. Apparently an agreement has been reached - or at least there is strong support among legislative leaders -- for Greer to be replaced, at least on an interim basis by state Sen. John Thrasher of Jacksonville. Greer was Crist's handpicked choice for chairman when Crist took office as governor in 2007, and previously had been more a political ally of Crist than a party activist.Thrasher, meanwhile, has not been known as a Crist ally. In 2006, Thrasher, a former state House speaker, backed Tom Gallagher against Crist in the Republican primary for governor. One potential problem Thrasher could face: One of the main jobs of a party chairman, particularly in an election year like this one, is fundraising, but state Senate rules prohibit senators from raising political money while the legislature is in session. Greer told party officials in a conference call minutes ago that he'll resign effective Feb. 20, at which time an election will be held for his replacement. Greer didn't mention Thrasher as a replacement. But before the call was even over, State Rep. Adam Hasner sent out a press release announcing his support for Thrasher, saying, "I fully support the choice of Senator John Thrasher as Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida."
Reporter William March can be reached at (813) 259-7761.