Former fundraiser and campaign manager Frank Mirabella leaves GOP over Amendment 2

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A former Republican fundraiser who successfully managed four statewide campaigns, including the initiative creating the Florida Lottery has left the GOP. Frank Mirabella said “elements” of the party funded a dishonest campaign to defeat Amendment 2, the tightly contested medicinal marijuana proposal which failed to get 60 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Mirabella who registered as a Republican in 1999 switched his registration Thursday to No Party Affiliation because of what he told friends in an email the “actions of some cold-heartless elements” of the Republican Party.

The weekend before the election, Mirabella wrote on his Facebook page about Kate, his teen daughter who was afflicted with cancer and passed away 20 years ago. He said he was moved to write after seeing Vote No on 2 commercials on the proposed amendment.

Reached Friday by phone to discuss his email blast about leaving the GOP and his feelings about the anti-Amendment 2 campaign, the retired lobbyist observed “we are the sum of our experiences.”

His remarks are lightly edited for clarity.

 “(Losing a child to cancer) that certainly left me with very strong feelings about this issue.  I felt very strong impulses all these years lobbying when the question of medical marijuana would come up and I would see those guys from the federal government lobbying against it, it used to make me very angry. This is not something that is just new.

Yes, it’s very personal. I know with cancer kids that the pain always comes and its part of that process and they quit eating and pain gets very excruciating and all that the medical community can do is pick up the morphine pump.

I went through that experience and I saw it firsthand.

My heart is with those cancer kids who are going to go through that same experience. . . .

The pain it always comes. And that is why I feel like I feel. When I saw these elements of the Republican Party that made this a partisan issue and put that money in to distort the issue, yea it made me angry.

And when I saw the thing get 58 percent of the vote and it still failed that’s when I said I’m not going to stay in the same party with these people.”

Mirabella said his last act as a Republican was to vote to re-elect Gov. Rick Scott.