The new king of the Florida Republican Party, Rick Scott, is scheduled to meet today with party chairman John Thrasher, to begin what some might call the "healing" process after Scott stuck it in the faces of the entire Florida GOP establishment by beating their anointed choice, Bill McCollum, on Tuesday night.
It won't be easy.
But in the end, most of the establishment will stick with Scott, because that's what people in political parties do. But the question needs to be asked: who's the more co-dependent partner here? Rick Scott spent $50 million to win the election, with absolutely no help from the party establishment. What does he need with them? And could it turn off some of his supporters, who like his very anti-Tallahassee message?
Pasco County GOP Committeeman Bill Bunting is no Scott fan, as I learned while speaking with him after the one major debate between Scott and McCollum in Tampa a few weeks ago. He tells the Orlando Sentinel that he thinks Scott is going to need people like him to beat Alex Sink:
"I think he has to show us his credentials," said Bill Bunting, chairman of Pasco County's McCollum team. "He's going to need the party to win this election; I think he knows that. He only took this by a small margin, despite all the money he spent."
And does the party really get what Scott's victory means? One would think not, after learning that an excited e-mail sent out by state Senator (and Scott supporter) Paula Dockery was censored by the RPOF ,for writing this seemingly innocuous note:
"For too long, true Republican principles have been put by the wayside in favor of the special interest agendas that fund the party elite. I wholeheartedly look forward to what tonight's election results mean: a revitalized party that is beholden only to the conservative electorate who demonstrated their trust and confidence with the power of their vote."
Former Governor Jeb Bush has reportedly had a spokeswoman send out an e-mail saying, that the party "must now united and work together for victory in November."
Then again, some of Bill McCollum's biggest supports are already praying that Scott was so busy with the rigors of the campaign that he didn't notice how all of them spent vast resources (for them, anyhow) to defeat him. Get this from Mike Haridopolos, the incoming Senate leader who (along with his BFF Dean Cannon) was attached to McCollum physically for the last week of the campaign, according to the Palm Beach Post..
"When you people check the record, you'll see it's only positive from me," incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos said.
But Haridopolos was one of several Republican leaders who, along with business lobbyists, helped raise and spend millions to attack Scott's business record.
By the way, Haridopolos admitted yesterday that he's never met or spoken with Scott.