Media Mavens Anoint Favorites in RPOF Race
Contrary to somnolent Democratic contest, Republicans give reporters something to write about
Around the State
Cox-Roush, the RPOF's vice chairman, and Bitner, a Jefferson County state committeeman, are among the five candidates vying for the post this weekend in Orlando.
The other contenders are Sid Dinerstein of Palm Beach County, Joe Gruters of Sarasota County and Tony DiMatteo of Pinellas County. All are working hard, and all have notable bases of support within the party.
While Cox-Roush may indeed hold an inside track by virtue of her current position and her status as the lone female candidate, it's far from clear that she will gain the needed majority.
Nor is Bitner a sure bet to make a runoff, which is widely anticipated. In terms of recent party involvement, the former state representative and lobbyist is a Johnny-come-lately. And new revelations about his past (see accompanying story) won't help.
Absent any scientific polling in this race, it's premature, if not foolish, to designate favorites in the wide-open field. Cooler heads at least ought to wait until after the candidates appear in a scheduled debate Friday night.
In the meantime, it borders on the absurd for Democratic mouthpieces like the St. Petersburg Times and the Palm Beach Post to presume to accurately read the pulse of the RPOF. Have they even bothered to check out Gruters' record of accomplishment? Why do they seem so casually dismissive of the lone candidate under age 55?
Before reveling in the party's spirited intramural contest -- which a Herald blog dubbed a "circular firing squad" -- these same scribes pitched softballs during the Florida Democratic Party chair selection. (Granted, there wasn't much to talk about there, since only one person, Rod Smith, actually wanted that dreary job.)
Gullible readers (and delegates) can be influenced by a prevailing "news" narrative. That's what the media echo chamber is all about.
Certainly one of the two Times/Herald/Post favorites might yet win. But an anointing of any Republican by left-leaning news outlets should be viewed with skepticism, if not deep suspicion.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or (772) 801-5341.