by Javier Manjarres
The Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC) is set to hold an election early next month to pick its next Chairman and Vice-Chairman. To no one’s surprise, BREC Treasurer Richard Lee DeNapoli has decided to run for the Chairmanship of the County party. However, what is surprising is that long-time county GOP stalwart Colleen Stolberg has decided to run on DeNapoli’s ticket as the candidate for Vice-Chairman. The Broward GOP has long been plagued by controversy, going back in time before the party broke with its charter and endorsed then Republican Gubernatorial candidate, and now failed Independent candidate Charlie Crist for Governor over another Republican in the Senate Primary race.
The BREC problems continued after that ill-fated endorsement as then Chairman Chip LaMarca was forced to invite now Senator-elect Marco Rubio to speak at the monthly meeting after the local party refused to conduct a straw poll between Rubio and Charlie Crist in the Senate race. LaMarca has since stepped down as Chairman to run against Democrat Ken Keechl for Broward County Commission. LaMarca, as well as Vice Chairwoman, and now Chairwoman Cindy Guerra and Richard Lee DeNapoli were all unwavering Charlie Crist supporters.
Interestingly enough, LaMarca would publicly chastise Rubio on local radio shows while at the same time stating that he was “impartial” and would not get involved in the race. Mr. DeNapoli had gone as far as to heckle Mr. Rubio at several of his speaking engagements, by questioning his motives for running, why he (Rubio) could ever think that he could beat Governor Crist.
“Rubio will never get more than 45% of the vote”- Richard DeNapoli
Obviously, both men were proven wrong after Governor Crist betrayed the GOP and ran as an Independent-to only have Rubio beat him by 19 pts a few days ago in the general election.
The BREC chairmanship is an important position because the position speaks for ‘all’ Republicans throughout Broward County-not just the executive committee. As in all elections, the question of integrity and character need to be addressed.
When DeNapoli ran for Treasurer of the Party, he stated that he had proudly served in the United States Marine Corps. Unfortunately for him, he did not remember that he had told several people and distributed dozens of handouts, that his stint in the Marine Corp only lasted about 2 weeks into the boot camp, and as a result, DeNapoli never held rank in the Armed Forces. Military rank is given to servicemen and woman who have completed basic training and move on in their military careers-E-1 is the lowest rank in the Marine Corp. DeNapoli has since backtracked on his earlier claims, stating that he “spent a short period of time in the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School before being injured while training.”
These changing claims about his past make it obvious that DeNapoli was stretching the truth and was being disingenuous with the BREC members whose votes he sought after–not to mention his lack of respect to ‘all’ past and present military personnel.
Of course, Mr. DeNapoli can clear this all up by furnishing his Military DD214 form. This form will state the duration of his ‘service’ in the armed forces, as well as the date and status of when he was discharged.
Another question that needs to be asked of DeNapoli (pictured) is, were he to be elected, would he pledge to serve out his entire term as Chairman? His track record suggests that he would be unlikely to do so. DeNapoli has been running in and out of political positions like his old friend Governor Crist did up to the point when he lost his bid for Senate. In fact, the similarities between the two men are quite interesting. DeNapoli has held several jobs which he abruptly left, then he started his own legal practice, which he abandoned, and he now works for Northern Trust Bank. DeNapoli was the Secretary of the SE Republican Club and quit shortly after he was involved in the infamous ‘DWS’ shooting incident back in October of 2009.
DeNapoli started another GOP Club, Greater Hollywood Club, and he pouted and complained to his superiors when rumors that another past club president might apply for a club charter in the neighboring city. Mr. DeNapoli then ran for Treasurer of the BREC, then just a few months ago, he entertained the idea of running for Vice Chairman, and now announcing his bid for Chairman. All this in less than 13 months!
This is pretty ambitious– if you ask me, it’s quite Obama-esque.