Former Port Richey City Attorney James Mathieu has resigned as chair of the Republican Party of Pasco.
In a brief email to supporters, Mathieu said the move was for personal reasons.
“Thank all of you for this opportunity to serve,” he wrote. “Keep the faith and Republicans will prevail in 2016. Thank you all.”
Mathieu, president of Mathieu Mediations and the Athenian Academy, a charter school in New Port Richey, has been chair of the Pasco GOP since July 2013 after serving as vice chair.
Mathieu recently faced strong backlash after refusing to sign off on the charter for West Pasco Republican Club, Pasco’s oldest GOP group. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Mathieu’s decision left the group without the ability to use the Republican trademark, and led to a boycott of the May 28 Reagan Day dinner by several local lawmakers, including state Sen. John Legg of Trinity.
The former Port Richey interim city manager has run afoul of the state GOP establishment in the past; he mounted three unsuccessful campaigns for the West Pasco House District 36 seat now held by Democratic state Rep. Amanda Murphy. Mathieu’s last effort included criticism of House Republicans, including then-Speaker Will Weatherford, for their refusal to expand Medicaid for more than 800,000 uninsured Floridians.
In August 2014, Mathieu lost the Republican primary to Chris Gregg, who was later defeated in the general election by incumbent Murphy. Mathieu also lost in 2012 to state Rep. Mike Fasano, who now serves as Pasco County Tax Collector.
“I hope all is well with Jim,” Fasano says. “I truly believe he wanted to sign the WPRC Charter application but Pasco Republican State Committeeman Bill Bunting stood in his way. I wish Jim all the best.”