Crowded Race For Broward GOP State Committeeman Post

brec111At least five local Republicans will face off on Monday night for the chance to be Broward’s Republican Party Of Florida (RPOF) State Committeeman. Broward Republican Party Chair Christine Butler has called for a special election following the resignation of current State Committeeman Ryan Anderson. He is leaving Broward County.

In an email to Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC) members, Butler laid out the rules and procedures for Monday night’s vote at Deicke Auditorium in Plantation. “Nominations will be made from the floor by BREC Members in good standing. The person making the nomination for a Candidate will have a maximum of a one (1) minute nomination speech.” Butler wrote. “Nominating speeches shall come from the floor.”

According to Butler, five minutes will be allowed for each Candidate’s speech for the office of State Committeeman. So far, five BREC members have announced their candidacies.

Tea Party Fort Lauderdale co-founder Jack Gillies says he is, “A Conservative Christian who stands by the 2012 Republican Platform, the United States Constitution, and the Holy Scriptures.” As to why he is the best candidate, Gillies says, “a lifelong history of ideas, hard work, and most importantly, results.”

Gillies’ Tea Party Fort Lauderdale claims to be “America’s longest running weekly tea party.” His group has held flag waving events, screening of conservative movies like “Hating Breitbart,” and speeches by authors Pamela Geller and Ann Coulter.

Chad Lincoln, a longtime BREC member from Hallandale Beach, was first to announce his candidacy. In an email, Lincoln claims to have “statewide relationships” and knowledge of caucuses and meetings. But his biggest selling point appears to be his ability to pay for a hotel. Lincoln wrote, “I’m ready to serve and to commit to the requisite time and expense to attend five meetings in Orlando a year. These costs include hotel, meals and travel for two to three nights per meeting, and these costs are not insignificant.”

Perhaps Mr. Lincoln will give BREC members tips on how to use Priceline and Trivago to save money on these costly trips to O-town.

BREC executive director Rico Petrocelli announced his candidacy with well-planned campaign of letters, emails and robocalls. In addition to his own robocall, Petrocelli produced a robocall from former BREC chairman Richard DeNapoli.

A letter from DeNapoli to BREC members laid out the case for Petrocelli as State Committeeman. “[Rico] can serve as a resource to the Chair and the County Executive Board.” DeNapoli wrote. “[Rico] has the contacts locally and at the Republican Party of Florida to make sure Broward County will get the attention and appropriate funding it deserves to help get Republicans elected in Broward.”

Mike Rump, the presdient of the Republican Business Network (RBN), believes his volunteerism during the 2014 election sets him apart from the other candidates. He says he, “created, organized, and sucessfully promoted ‘REPUBLICAN ROUNDUPS’ [which] grew in attendance with each event and were a real rallying point for Republicans in 2014.” Rump wrote he regularly visits Tallahassee to lobby as the president-elect of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA).

BREC member Tom Terwilliger recently lost a race for the Pompano Beach city commission. Late last year, Terrwillger ran as Levi Williams’ running mate for BREC vice chair. He claims his position as  chairperson of BREC’s voter registration committee has allowed him to engage “over 700 young people from 18 to 28. His success rate is 80% of new voters are registered as Republican or other.”

We will update this story as other candidates join the race.

Petrocelli’s Questionable Move Embarrasses Local GOP Leaders

20130107-190647.jpg

Broward GOP Chairman Rico Petrocelli’s attempt to place a non-BREC member on an important congressional district committee embarrassed local GOP leaders including the co-chair of the Republican National Committee. The move came at last weekend’s Republican Party Of Florida meetings in Orlando. Petrocelli, members of the new BREC board, State Committeeman Ryan Anderson and RNC co-Chair Sharon Day made up the Broward delegation. One of the major items on the agenda was elections to fill congressional district committees across Florida. Local party chairs and state committee persons can nominate individuals from their counties.

A printed list of Petrocelli’s nominations was circulated before the meeting began. However, once the proceedings began it was clear Petrocelli planned to abandon his list. First, he nominated Michael DeGruccio, the polarizing former secretary of the Broward GOP. State Committeeman Anderson nominated longtime committeeman Chad Lincoln to challenge DeGruccio. A vote by the RPOF leadership handed Lincoln a decisive victory over DeGruccio.

According to several insiders the real fun was about to begin. For the next opening, Petrocelli nominated an individual who was not even a member of the Broward GOP. In fact, this person no longer resides in Broward county. Petrocelli never disclosed this information. Only after the votes were taken did it become public knowledge. The nominee admitted to presenting BREC membership paperwork that very morning. The RPOF was forced to table the vote until the next quarterly meeting. Witnesses say Sharon Day was incensed that Petrocelli allowed Broward’s “dirty laundry” to be aired in front of the entire RPOF.

Why Petrocelli would pull such a questionable maneuver at his first RPOF meeting as Broward GOP chairman.? Some insiders speculate Petrocelli was attempting to curry favor with Florida Governor Rick Scott. The nominee in question has close ties to the Governor’s office. Petrocelli currently serves as chairman of the Broward County Housing Authority. Nominated by Charlie Crist in 2009, Petrocelli’s term ends this year. Petrocelli, a Crist loyalist, would need to be re-nominated by Governor Scott.

Others wonder if Petrocelli has come under the influence of DeGruccio. A longtime Broward Republican volunteer, DeGruccio did not seek re-election as party secretary after it became clear he had lost the support of many party activists. These activists were upset by DeGruccio’s actions during the November elections.

First, DeGruccio decided to ignore the Broward GOP endorsement of school board candidate Rochelle Solomon by issuing his our written endorsement of her opponent Abby Freedman. Ms. Freedman, a close political ally of Democrat Sheriff Candidate Scott Israel, used DeGruccio’s letter to convince voters that she had the support of the Broward GOP. Freedman ended up defeating Solomon and Israel beat Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti.

Then, during early voting, pictures surfaced of DeGruccio hanging out at a polling place with a militant Democrat activist. The photograph of DeGruccio and Michael Rajner was featured on Buddy Nevins’ BrowardBeat.com. Ranjer was behind the August 2011 boycott of Congressman Allen West. Earlier this year, Rajner revealed personal information regarding a member of State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff’s family.

Despite the outrage from grassroots Republican activists, Petrocelli named DeGruccio his “Director of Party Development.” The duties of this newly-created position have not been made public. It is unclear if this is a paid position.

After returning late Saturday night from Orlando, Petrocelli took to Facebook to thank DeGruccio for his “knowledge and contacts.” While he did thank Sharon Day for her “help”, Petrocelli never mentioned his fellow BREC board members.

This is the latest misstep in Petrocelli’s one-month reign as Broward GOP chairman. RED BROWARD previously reported on Petrocelli’s controversial plan to hold as few as six BREC meetings in 2013.

Maybe “the Chairmen” were on to something?

20130107-145740.jpg