Liberal Media Make a Mountain out of a Molehill in RPOF Vote
Around the State
The liberal media are breathlessly reporting that Leslie Dougher only getting more than 60 percent of the vote to become chairwoman of the RPOF this weekend shows that Rick Scott is in trouble -- and, as usual, they are barking up the wrong tree.
“Florida Republicans elected a new leader, but the split vote underscores the challenges Gov. Rick Scott faces from within his own party in his re-election effort,” Dara Kam from the News Service of Florida wrote.
Unlike Michael J. Fox in the “Back to the Future” films, the media don’t need the services of Dr. Brown and a DeLorean to blast off to the distant past. In fact, the media could have only looked back four years. Dougher won 61 percent of the vote to become RPOF chairwoman this past weekend. In February 2010, John Thrasher was elected RPOF chairman over Sharon Day. Thrasher won ... with 61 percent of the vote.
How did Republicans do in 2010 after the RPOF chairman vote? Despite an ugly primary between Scott and Bill McCollum, Republicans held on to the governorship. They won the other three Cabinet races, burying all the Democrats by double digits. Marco Rubio destroyed Charlie Crist, who bolted the GOP in 2010, and Kendrick Meek, for an open U.S. Senate seat. Democratic congressmen like Alan Grayson, Allen Boyd, Suzanne Kosmas and Ron Klein were turned out of office and Lori Edwards and Charlie Justice fizzled in their efforts to beat Republican incumbents. The GOP expanded its hold on the Legislature, winning veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
There were plenty of “challenges from within the party” for the Republicans back in 2010, namely the Rubio-Crist contest and the Scott-McCollum primary. Thrasher getting 61 percent of the vote to become RPOF chair wasn’t one of them.
The same holds true with Dougher. Sure, there are people who aren’t pleased with the new leader. That’s always the case when someone new takes the reins. There are certainly arguments to be made against Dougher’s leadership. She led the GOP in conservative Clay County, not exactly a battleground. There have been a few too many RPOF chairs from North Florida lately: Dougher, Lenny Curry, Thrasher, Dave Bitner. But whatever opposition there is to Dougher has nothing to do with Scott and how the GOP will fare in November.
One of the more underrated stories of this election has been how Republicans are sticking with Scott. To be sure, there are grumbles as conservatives bemoan how Scott hasn’t cut spending and has not brought an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida. But Scott has caught Crist in the polls and one of the chief reasons is that Republicans are backing their candidate. Having a turncoat like Crist as the main Democrat in the race helps.
Even so, Scott has made major gains with Republicans. Last spring, polls showed more than 40 percent of Republicans wanted somebody else besides Scott as their candidate. Now Scott gets around 80 percent of Republicans behind him. That’s not something to be taken lightly, especially after the 2010 primary and its aftermath, when McCollum refused to endorse Scott, not to mention Crist running four times for statewide office as the Republican candidate.
Rick Scott has his challenges, to be sure, this election year. But the margin of Dougher’s win isn’t indicative of any of them.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.