Pinellas Republican Party State Committeeman Dan Tucker refused Tuesday to step down after several GOP officials called for his resignation over a Facebook comment about the health of County Commissioner John Morroni.
“They’re going to have to kick me out,” Tucker told Danielle Paquette of the Tampa Bay Times.
Tucker commented last week on Republican Morroni’s decision to endorse Democrat Darden Rice for District 4 of the St. Petersburg City Council.
“Doesn’t he have cancer of the brain … hmmm?” Tucker wrote, making a reference to Morroni’s battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Morroni’s cancer is currently in remission.
The Times reports Tucker, a Tea Party activist, has since called Morroni to apologize.
Outrage over Tucker’s statement has shaken the Pinellas County GOP. Sen. Jack Latvala called the statement “appalling,” saying he will write to Lenny Curry, chair of the Florida Republican Party if Tucker doesn’t resign by Tuesday.
Pinellas GOP chair Michael Guju released a statement Monday saying the party tried to address the issue internally through conversations with 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.”