It’s no surprise that the estimable Greg Truax, Hillsborough’s state committeeman to the Republican Party of Florida, is sticking with his guy, Charlie Crist, even though Crist has bolted the GOP to run as an independent for the US Senate. But how can Al Austin, one of the country’s top GOP fundraisers, justify his support of Crist while leading Tampa’s effort to woo the Republican National Convention to the city in 2012?
Last night, I attended a fundraiser for Crist hosted by a slew of wealthy (mostly Indian) doctors in St. Petersburg. Austin did not attend, but he did lend his name to an invitation for the event.
Several Republicans I spoke with about Austin’s decision to support Crist did not want to say anything critical about Austin because of his critical financial role in funding GOP efforts. It’s almost as if an exception is being made just for Austin despite promises from the national and state Republicans to ostracize any Republican who ends up supporting Crist.
Still, questions have to be asked how Austin can lead the effort to bring the 2012 GOP convention to Tampa, while working against the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate.