By Javier Manjarres
The most recent Republican presidential polls show that Newt Gingrich’s support is slipping, and Gingrich’s support could drop even further as his competition step up their attacks in the lead up to the the January 4th Iowa Caucus. Gingrich has been hit hard for his questionable support for several not-so-conservative measures such as Global Warming and Obama’s failed “Stimulus” plan of 2009-Gingrich supported and praised President Obama on two specific items within the Stimulus while denouncing the rest of the plan.
With Republicans in Broward County lagging in third in registrations behind both Democrats and Independents, the eventual Republican nominee will face a formidable challenge in orchestrating a strong GOP turnout. Even though Republicans will likely not win the plurality of votes in Broward, a strong turn out could mitigate Democrat gains elsewhere around the state.
But now the Gingrich’s campaign’s judgment is now being into question as his campaign has named one of the more controversial individuals in South Florida politics, Karin Hoffman, to his Broward County campaign team. Here is a background on Hoffman’s political activities over the past couple of years:
DC Works for Us
Started by Hoffman as a ‘for profit’ grassroots organization based in Coral Springs, the group had taken a political hiatus of sorts until recently, and the group has always struggled to fill seats at their meetings that average about 30 or so attendees whenever a speaker is not invited. The group has previously endorsed candidates in past primary elections-namely, Bill McCollum for Governor, Robert Lowry for Congress, Edward Lynch for Congress (All lost), and has actively engaged in very questionable ‘Alinsky-style’ tactics to ‘contrast’ their candidates with others.
Hoffman made this tasteless comment about congressional candidate Karen Harrington after Harrington mentioned that she was a cancer survivor:
Being a cancer survivor does not bolster your resume. Does not make you a fighter. There are many dear friends and family I know who lost the battle to cancer who were tremendous fighters, as well. Cancer is no respecter of persons. The fact that Debbie or Karen would use this in their resume as to who they are diminishes all those who lost the battle. -Karin Hoffman, August 2010
Several of her members have openly engaged in racial attacks towards other Republicans, and have and still do, engage in character assassination of other Republicans that do not meet their sniff test, or differ on opinion with them.
Florida Governor Rick Scott
During the 2010 Gubernatorial primary, Hoffman and her members planned an ‘ambush’ on now Governor Rick Scott when they invited him to speak at their club early on in the campaign. The Scott campaign caught wind of this plan and immediately contacted Hoffman and threatened to cancel the event, which prompted her to change the format of the event which limited the attendees from directly engaging the candidates. While there is nothing wrong with open dialogue, DC Works for Us has on several occasions used their meetings as a setup to chastise and badger candidates, not for a fair exchange of questions and answers.
Broward Republican Executive Committee
Hopeful that she would become Chairman of the local party, Hoffman attempted to stage a coup during the 2009 special election for the GOP County Chairman position that opened due to a vacancy, but she was unable to become chairman because of her alternate committeewoman status at the time. Since then, Hoffman has glommed onto current BREC Chairman and staunch Charlie Crist Republican Richard DeNapoli in hopes of currying favor to move up the ranks as well as boosting her status on the political scene. DeNapoli infamously heckled Senator Rubio and stated on several occasions that Congressman Allen West could not win his seat simply because he was “black.”
DeNapoli was also caught trying to hide an unreported donation to a candidate from the BREC, and is currently under investigation by the state GOP for “ineffectual leadership.” David Gobeo, the current Newt for President Broward County Chairman sits on the BREC’s dais as their attorney, and is also a staunch supporter of DeNapoli and was of former Governor Crist. While Gobeo comes across as more of a slick player who has had a hand behind the scenes in some of the questionable activities of DC Works for Us crew and the BREC, he is not a factor- yet. Hoffman is also affiliated with Chad Lincoln, who coincidentally runs the Broward for Newt website with David Gobeo. Lincoln has been reprimanded by the RPOF for libeling another Republican committeeman and is also highly suspected of operating anonymous political websites that propagate hate and libel. Click here to visit the Broward County for Newt website.
Senator Marco Rubio
The Marco Rubio for Senate campaign avoided Karin Hoffman and DC Works for Us during the last election cycle primarily because of the group’s reputation that has been chronicled above. Hoffman made many attempts to get Rubio to address her group, but the Rubio campaign was well aware of her tactics and her unabashed support for one of the most toxic Republican candidates of the 2010 primary election, Robert Lowry.
Hoffman did not openly endorse Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist in the 2010 Republican primary and instead openly criticized Rubio for being soft on illegal immigration and questioned his electability. Why? The real reason why she would’t endorse in the primary was because Crist had appointed one of her family members to a prominent position in Broward County, and Hoffman stated that she was unable to endorse because of the fact that it would look bad for her family member. Hoffman never did openly endorse Rubio, even after Crist dropped out of the party and ran as an Independent. DC Works for Us did provide a list of candidates they would support in weeks leading up to the general election, but they failed to openly endorse Senator Rubio.
During Herman Cain’s short-lived presidential campaign, Hoffman adamantly fought to oust Cain’s Broward County chair Gene Robinson, saying that she could not and would not work with him. The Cain campaign disclosed this information to the Shark Tank after his recent Coral Springs, FL rally where they took her ultimatum as a joke and then decided to part ways with Hoffman. The campaign also stated that she was merely ‘smoke-n-mirrors,’ and was not bringing any substantial support or resources to the table. Weeks later, Cain dropped out of the race, and now the point has became moot.
Karin Hoffman has a long history of divisiveness in the county, and her proclamations of grassroots influence have been brought into question on many occasions by other activists and even her close friends who can seen the the truth behind Hoffman’s facade. Hoffman’s selection by the Gingrich campaign doesn’t mean it’s over and done with, but it no doubt means that Gingrich’s team needs to vet their supporters a little better than they’ve been doing.