The Florida Republican Party is struggling to find the crucial political leadership that could determine whether the GOP is successful against President Barack Obama and Sen.Bill Nelson.
While the party appears operationally sound as it prepares for the 2012 elections, Gov. Rick Scott has yet to settle into a leadership role and Republicans are still recovering from some embarrassing 2010 setbacks. Gov. Charlie Crist bolted the GOP and his hand-picked chairman, Jim Greer, resigned amid charges of financial and political mismanagement.
The void is Scott? to fill. But his transition to party leader has been rocky, as the outsider Republican remains without a base and largely unknown to GOP activists following a 2010 campaign that eschewed traditional grass-roots campaigning for paid media.
Florida Republicans say that could change. Scott has just emerged from a contentious legislative session, and the former multimillionaire hospital executive finally has time to focus on party building and the governor? natural role as political leader. Whether he does so could influence GOP fortunes in this coveted swing state, where money and a highly organized ground game are required to retake Florida from Obama and oust Nelson.
?t? an evolving process that comes from the fact that Rick Scott came out of nowhere,?said David Johnson, a well-connected Republican strategist based in Florida. ?ime will tell.?/blockquote>
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