Each Friday, Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith asks via Twitter for suggestions on who is the Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics.
Well, I’m not sure who the winner is this week, but the Loser of the Week is pretty clear-cut: The Republican Party of Florida.
Beginning with brothels on Monday and ending with hookers on Friday, the past seven days have just been disastrous for the RPOF. Actually, the past week has probably been the worst of Lenny Curry’s chairmanship.
The RPOF’s parade of horribles is not coincidental, by the way. It is concurrent with the Florida GOP’s overreach into a campaign against Florida Supreme Court. It’s also concurrent with the RPOF’s current obsession with former Governor Charlie Crist. Instead of focusing solely on helping top-of-the-ballot candidates Mitt Romney and Connie Mack, Curry and the RPOF are fighting these tertiary battles.
How bad a week was it for the RPOF? Consider this timeline (as neatly outlined by the Florida Democratic Party):
On Monday, State Rep. Mike Horner resigns after after being linked to a brothel in Orange County.
On Tuesday, the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo pens a scathing piece on the checkered past of Congressman David Rivera’s pal Ana Alliegro and her role in the Lamar Sternad/David Rivera shadow campaign and subsequent FBI probe.
On Wednesday, it’s reported the RPOF was forced to fire their consulting firm when the County Supervisor of Elections flagged 106 voter registration applications submitted by the firm as “questionable.” Before the termination, the RPOF had paid the firm, Strategic Allied Consultants, $1.3 million.
On Thurdsay, more Rivera, this time a report by the Miami Herald revealing that failed candidate Lamar Sternad told federal law enforcement authorities that Congressman Rivera – aka “The Gangster” — was behind a shadow campaign for Sternad ‘that might have broken federal laws.’ Meanwhile, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and Tampa Bay Times report that a campaign donor to Congressman Vern Buchanan has pleaded guilty to illegally funneling contributions to Buchanan’s campaign and the RPOF — using a pattern of deception and an MO that is shockingly identical to Buchanan’s own attempts to funnel donations to his campaign through employees at his used car dealerships.
On Friday, the RPOF’s voter registration scandal grows, as the Associated Press reports at “least 10 counties have identified suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms turned in by a firm working for the Republican Party of Florida,” prompting the Florida Democratic Party to call for the state to revoke the RPOF’s voter registration license.
And finally, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Delmar Johnson — the state’s star witness in the criminal fraud trial of former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer — told attorneys in a sworn statement that he saw a golf cart full of women he believed to be prostitutes at a Republican Party fundraiser in the Bahamas.
Brothels on Monday. Hookers on Friday. What a week for the RPOF.