by Javier Manjarres
Here is a quick overview of each of the candidates running for the Chairman Position of the RPOF:
Sid Dinerstein – Recently elected to his 5th term as Palm Beach REC Chair, Dinerstein was an early supporter of now Senator Marco Rubio. Palm Beach county delivered significant wins for CFO Atwater, AG Commissioner Putnam, Attorney General Bondi, and narrowly backed for Rubio over Governor Crist in the Senate race. Dinerstein touts an accomplished fundraising background, raising upwards of $3,000,000 over the past several years, and he was the founder of the financial services heavy JBS & Associates before selling the venture. Recent endorsements for his candidacy are Bradford County GOP Chair David Dodge, Frances Rice of the National Black Republican Association, and Newsmax’s Chris Ruddy. www.sid4rpof.com
Tony DiMatteo – Former Pinellas County GOP Chair and current RPOF Chairman of the Grievance Committee, DiMatteo bring years of GOP service and a proven ability to raise money for candidates and local Republican Clubs. DiMatteo was directly involved in the controversial ‘Greer purge’ of dissedent Republicans within the party, but later was one of the first to ask for Greer’s ouster. Like other candidates, DiMatteo was an ardent Rubio supporter from early on and continued to support him through the general election. DiMatteo has received the support of ‘the most interesting man in the world’ and 2nd Amendment defender, Bill Bunting. DiMatteo is seen as a no-nonsense type of candidate that is not afraid to mix it up if need be. The latest Scuttlebutt in political circles has DiMatteo making headway in the race. www.29in2012.com
Deborah Cox-Roush – Current RPOF Vice Chairwoman and Chairwoman of the largest Republican REC in the state (Hillsborough), Cox-Roush is the odds-on favorite to win the race. The past several weeks have been rough for Cox-Roush after her 2004 DUI arrest has been brought to public attention. Many have also questioned Cox-Roush for her catering business dealings with the local GOP, where her company catered nearly all of the Republican events held by the Hillsborough Party. She has received endorsements from longtime committeewoman Liliana Ros from Miami, Committeewoman Linda Ivell, and a slew of other voting members of the RPOF. Cox-Roush was also one of the early Rubio supporters, and is also regarded as being one of the most respected organizers for everything Republican in the state. www.deborahcoxroush.com
Joe Gruters – Sarasota REC Chairman Gruters is widely regarded as one of the ‘up and comers’ in the state GOP. An Accountant by trade, Gruters in running on the ‘accountability’ platform and is promising full transparency within the RPOF- the Party has been mired with money woes throughout former chairman Jim Greer’s tenure. Gruters has been criticized for being a staunch Charlie Crist supporter up until the time Crist left the party, of which he then joined the ranks of the Rubio faithful. Recently, Gruters said that if elected to RPOF Chair, he would resign the position if his former boss, Rep. Vern Buchanan ran for the U.S. Senate. Gruters is confident that Buchanan will stay put, as he was named chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Gruters’ statement has been come into question because in 2008, Senators John McCain and now President Barack Obama ran for President while staying on as Senators and in their respective committees in the Senate. www.joegruters.com
Gruters has garnered the endorsements from key legislative politicos like Senate Majority Whip Anitere Flores (R-Miami), Senator Steve Wise (R-Jacksonville) and former Senators Tim Deratany (R-Orlando), Lisa Carlton (R-Sarasota), and Pat Neal (R-Bradenton).
David Bitner – Committeeman and former state Legislator David Bitner has quietly been making his rounds and may have been able to snag critical support away from some of the other candidates in the race, making him a top contender in the race. During his stint in the legislature, Bitner boasts that he never requested a single earmark. Like a few of the other candidates in the race, Bitner has also been the victim of anonymous and cowardly hit pieces put out to discredit other candidates in the race for Chairman. Bitner has addressed the past Domestic Violence complaint made by his wife many moons ago, and has moved on- the complaint was filed by his wife was in the heat of passion, a premise many of us, can relate to. Bitner has been endorsed by former RPOF Chairman Tom Slade, the Sun-Herald, and Republican donor and bigwig Al Hoffman has come out in favor of Bitner’s candidacy- Hoffman was instrumental in the ouster of disgraced former Chairman Jim Greer. Bitner is running on a Five-Point Plan to shake up and fix the state Republican Party- full transparency and grassroots outreach seem to be the focal points in his platform. www.davebitner.com