The executive board of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee is unanimously calling on Dan Tucker to step down as State Committeeman as the controversy surrounding Tucker’s comments about County Commissioner John Morroni shows no sign of dying down.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Pinellas GOP chairman Michael Guju said that the party had tried to handle the matter internally and has “conducted discussions in a private manner with State Committeeman Tucker.”
“Unfortunately, he has refused to do what is in the best interests of the party and resign,” Guju said.
“Thus, the Executive Board of the Pinellas Republican Party publicly condemns the insensitive comments and unanimously calls for Mr. Tucker to resign as state committeeman.
The executive board echoes State Senator Jack Latvala’s call for Tucker’s resignation after Tucker created a firestorm in local political circles on Thursday when he took to social media to criticize Morroni’s endorsement of St. Petersburg City Council candidate Darden Rice. Local politico Joe Triolo highlighted on Facebook an article from the Tampa Tribune discussing Morroni’s endorsement of Rice. In response to this, Tucker wrote, “Doesn’t he have cancer of the brain… hmmm?”
Tucker’s comments were quickly condemned from all sides of the political arena.
“In 40 years of Florida politics never have I seen as asinine a statement by an official of my party as the one from State Committeeman Dan Tucker about Commissioner John Morroni and his bout with cancer,” wrote Latvala in an email. “That offends the sensibilities of all thinking, caring people.”
Former Republican Party of Florida executive director David Johnson has called on Tucker to resign, as have dozens of other political activists and donors in Pinellas County and throughout the state.
Tucker did post an apology that read, “Please forgive me, comments about grave illnesses have no place in political discussions.”
Tucker also called commissioner Morroni.
“He called and said John, you know I’m really sorry, that was a very poor comment to make. And I said yeah, I said you really hit me below the belt and I said, but you know, I’m a forgiver,” said Commissioner Morroni as reported by BayNews 9.