Mitch Perry Report 12.12.12 -Hillsborough Republicans turn over a new leaf

The Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee last night voted to make recently elected state Senator Tom Lee to become their new chairman, succeeding Art Wood.

For weeks former Hillsborough County Commissioner Chris Hart appeared to be the front-runner in the race, and certainly no one was more ubiquitous in working with Republicans to get out the vote than the 67-year-old former veteran this past year in the county. But once Lee decided to get into the race it was all over. In his nominating speech, Hart said he knew math and knew that he didn't have the votes, calling on all of his supporters to vote for Lee. Recently vanquished congressional candidate E.J. Otero essentially did the same thing, saying that he could not accept his name being put in nomination. But before the coronation occurred, longtime state commiteeman A.J. Matthews - who lost his bid to continue to be a committeeman last month, then stepped up and said he didn't think it was right that there wasn't any competition for the chair position.

But when Lee was announced as the winner, there was no breakdown about how many votes Matthews received from the 193 REC members in attendance.

There were plenty of interesting things said by Republicans at last night's event in the wake of their loss to Barack Obama in the county. Look out for that post later today.

Over the weekend it was reported that Pinellas County is looking at putting a measure on the 2014 ballot that would call for funding light-rail. What's going on in Hillsborough? That's what the county's MPO Chairman is asking.

Connie Mack IV may soon be gone from office in a few weeks, but to paraphrase Neil Young, he's not forgotten. The Tea Party Patriots group sent out a press release the other day, saying they'll be offering their 12 days of Solutions. First up was Mack's own contribution to reducing the deficit, the Penny Plan.

While the Mayor of St. Petersburg decides if he's ever going to allow the management of the Tampa Bay Rays to speak to local officials outside of Pinellas County, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn yesterday decided to honor the Rays Cy Young Award winning pitcher (and Harbor Island resident) David Price.

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