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Tempers flare at RNC re: Jim Greer’s election

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Old grudges die hard, and at the Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting this week, some wounds from this year’s contentious election for chairman are being reopened.

Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a key ally of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, is running to head the party’s influential Rules Committee, with Steele’s backing.

That doesn’t sit well with some conservatives, who see Greer as a centrist. Former South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson, who came in second to Steele in January’s vote for chairman, gave an interview to The Washington Times that gave voice to what some privately say about Greer.

“Greer is the single most disliked guy on the RNC — that would be my guess,” Dawson told the Times in an article that ran Thursday morning.

Asked for his reaction, Greer said he and Dawson had always had a good relationship.

“I was disappointed,” Greer told The Hill. “I think his comments, not only about me but in the broader text, continue to demonstrate his frustration in losing the chairmanship in January.”

Dawson, who stepped down as South Carolina party leader after eight years on the job earlier this year, was seen as the more conservative candidate in the final match-up with Steele. He and Greer have rarely seen eye to eye on internal party matters.

“Parties are judged by wins and losses, and under Jim Greer’s leadership, Florida turned blue,” Dawson fired back in an e-mail to The Hill. “[Former] Gov. Jeb Bush [R] governed as a conservative and the Republican Party flourished under his leadership. But Jim Greer has chosen to abandon our party’s core conservative principles and the results speak for themselves.”

Several candidates for RNC chairman were put off by Greer’s late endorsement of Steele, after the Florida chairman considered his own bid for the party’s top slot for months.

Two more conservative members of the RNC, Arizona national committeeman Bruce Ash and North Dakota national committeeman Curly Hoaglund, are running as well, and it’s anyone’s ballgame.

Dawson is backing Hoaglund from afar, while influential Rules Committee member Morton Blackwell, Virginia’s national committeeman, supports Ash. From The Hill

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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