Republican grassroots activists inspired by the message of former presidential candidate Ron Paul failed to gain control of the Miami-Dade County GOP Tuesday night, but they have nevertheless won a record number of seats in the county party apparatus.
Most of these victories were won several months ago – and not only in Miami-Dade – but they are only being made public now.
Two Paul supporters were elected to the board of directors of Miami-Dade County’s Republican Executive Committee, one of the largest RECs in the state: Rosa Palomino as vice-chairwoman and Elizabeth Romney-Robayna as treasurer.
In addition, about 48 to 51 of the approximately 128 new committee persons seated Tuesday self-identify as supporters of the Texas congressman’s libertarian conservatism.
Sources from within the Republican Party tell Sunshine State News that Ryan Anderson, state committeeman for the Broward GOP, is also a Paul supporter, as are others elected to local party offices across the Sunshine State.
Their gains are the fruit of a months-long stealth campaign that activists say is intended to return the Republican Party to its traditional small-government roots.
Around the State
Floridians select proposed license plate design
Florida attorney general wants TU reporter to testify in Jennifer Carroll case
Bad return address on Christmas cards from Gov. Rick Scott's political committee
Indian River Commission reaches new agreement with Piper Aircraft
State Dept starts Benghazi attack recommendations
Some want added security at Hernando schools to be permanent
Orange leaders OK $3M for more deputies in elementary schools
Stork thrives, may shed endangered status
Lawmakers await Benghazi review
Inouye's death leaves hole in HI political clout
Nelson Diaz, an attorney and lobbyist who has been heavily involved with the campaigns of several Republican heavyweights since the 1990s (including now-U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio), beat out longtime grassroots activist and political consultant Emiliano Antunez for the position of county party chairman.
Diaz was reportedly the favored candidate of party leadership; Antunez supported Paul’s candidacy in 2008 and 2012, and was the favorite of the Paul supporters.
Antunez reportedly lost by only two votes.
Sources from within the Miami-Dade GOP told Sunshine State News that all but one of the state representatives, and two of the three state senators representing Miami-Dade County were present to cast their votes for the REC’s board of directors. The absent legislators were reportedly Rep. Michael Bileca of West Miami and Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami.
County REC elections are a mystery to most voters, perhaps even most registered Republicans. But they are important for the impact they have on setting the future agenda of the party at the county and state levels.
Every county’s Republican Party is divided up into districts or precincts, and each district/precinct is represented by up to four elected party officials: two district committeeman and two district committeewomen. In addition, each county has two county-wide elected officers: a state committeeman and a state committeewoman. These positions are all filled during the presidential primary election.
Each district and state committee person – and every representative and senator representing the county in the Florida Legislature -- is eligible to vote for a county party’s board of directors, which is made up of five officers: a chairman, a vice-chairman, two secretaries, and a treasurer.
The state committee persons, district/precinct committee persons, and the county party board of directors all make up a county’s Republican Executive Committee. The chairman and the two state committee persons of all the state’s county REPs are eligible to elect the leadership of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF).
The Miami-Dade GOP is divided into 40 districts, for a potential committee membership of up to 162 persons (160 district committee persons and two state committeepersons), though sources tell Sunshine State News about 20 percent of those seats are vacant, either because no one ran for them or those elected to them were subsequently disqualified on any number of procedural technicalities
State Rep. Manny Diaz of Hialeah and activist Liliana Ros, who is often referred to as the “Godmother of the Miami-Dade GOP,” are the county REC’s two state committee persons. Neither are Paul supporters.