Duval GOP chairman finally takes blame for failures

in Uncategorized by
Four days ago, the Florida Times-Union reported that Duval County’s GOP chairman, Rick Hartley, would not seek reelection in elections slated for December 15th. It was reported he sent a letter to the county party committee that endorsed Jacksonville Council Member Robin Lumb but offered no contrition for dragging Duval Republicans through a series of public relations blunders that included remarks many deemed inappropriate, like calling Jacksonville’s African American Mayor “thuggish.”
But in an email sent Tuesday, after his first letter and the Times-Union report, Hartley has finally admitted his record of failures as party chairman. In the email, obtained by Extensive Enterprises Media from a Duval GOP insider, Hartley starts, “In trying to make things better I seem to have made things worse.”
Later he goes further to explain just how bad his tenure as chairman has been.
“Most of you know that I have had a rocky 20 months as your Chairman,” writes Hartley. “I have been unable to unite our Party. That’s a fact. I appreciate the loyalty. I really do. But loyalty and friendship does not make up for losing. We are going to face well-funded Democrat challengers in many Council races.”
“In the last several weeks I’ve seen fissures continue in our Party. I know we won’t win unless we are united. Jacksonville is counting on us.”
Here is the text of Hartley’s email:
From: Republican Party of Duval County <chairman@duvalgop.com>
Date: December 9, 2014 at 3:52 PM EST
Subject: Letter from Rick Hartley
Re:  My decision not to seek reelection as Chairman.
In trying to make things better I seem to have made things worse.
I’ve heard all sorts of stories.  Let me set the record straight.  No one is forcing me out.  This is 100% my decision.  No one came to me and asked me to do this.  I went to Robin.
Why did I go to Robin and not schedule a full donnybrook election?  Time is short, we don’t have the luxury to pick someone and then maybe find out that they were not the best choice.   I’ve been involved for many years.  In looking at our entire REC, Robin is well prepared to step in and lead us.  I would not ask you to accept someone who is not well prepared.
Winning city elections takes volunteers, hundreds of volunteers.  These elections will be won at the front door.  It also takes money.  Money provides the handouts, mailers, GOP Picks at the polls, the phone banks for chasing absentee ballots, the signs, the software, the soda and pizza to fuel our army.
Most of you know that I have had a rocky 20 months as your Chairman.  I have been unable to unite our Party.  That’s a fact.  I appreciate the loyalty.  I really do.  But loyalty and friendship does not make up for losing.    We are going to face well-funded Democrat challengers in many Council races.
In the last several weeks I’ve seen fissures continue in our Party.   I know we won’t win unless we are united.  Jacksonville is counting on us.
We have to be together if we are to elect a Republican Mayor, Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, 19 City Council Members and a Republican to District 13 of the House of Representatives.
I know Robin Lumb to be a true conservative.  He is on good terms with all of the various groups within our Party.   He is good at dealing with the media and is on good terms with our donors.   He knows how to win. Please give him a chance.  If we all work together we WILL kick Democrat butt!
I am not going anywhere.  I intend to be a heck of a Precinct Committee person for years to come.
Sincerely,
Rick Hartley

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.