BY BUDDY NEVINS
A second candidate for Broward Republican Party chair has jumped in the race within hours of the word that current Chair Robert DeNapoli is not running again.
Former Plantation Commissioner Rico Petrocelli, who is the current executive director of the party, announced Monday afternoon he was running.
Two days after Petrocelli’s announcement, DeNapoli and party Vice Chair Colleen Stolberg, who also is not running again, announced their support of him.
In an e-mail to Republicans, DeNapoli and Stolberg listed a list of achievements they attribute to Petrocelli:
As your Executive Director:
- Rico got sponsors for a majority our monthly meetings;
- Fundraised for our first Lincoln Day Dinner with Governor Rick Scott, RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day and Congressman Allen West, netting $90,000
- Organize our Grand Old Party BBQ, which attracted over 600 guests
- Secured over 170 attendees to Presidency V, netting some $30,000 for the Republican Party of Florida and $4,000 for the BREC
- Fundraised for our second Lincoln Day in May 2012 with Keynote Speaker Attorney General Pam Bondi and Special Guests CFO Jeff Atwater and Congressman Allen West
- Collected tens of thousands of dollars throughout both years in our regular fundraising appeals
Petrocelli is challenging Karen Harrington, who announced she was running earlier.
Both candidates are flawed.
Harrington ran two losing races against U. S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, in the last two years.
Petrocelli lost his re-election in Plantation. In addition, Petrocelli has been fined by the Florida Ethics Commission for various actions in Plantation, which I’m sure GOP committee members will be reading about in their mail soon.
For more about Harrington, check out her campaign website here.
Background on Petrocelli can be found by typing his name into the search feature on Browardbeat.com’s home page.
This is quickly becoming exactly what the Republicans wanted to avoid — a very public and potentially messy battle.
So why should the Broward GOP be any different than the Broward Democratic Party?
Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar has never had an easy re-election since he first took office in 1996.
Here is Petrocelli’s announcement:
Fellow Broward Republicans:
As your Executive Director for the last two years, Richard and I have spoken about the many opportunities we’ve had in our lives. I know how Richard struggled with the choice over the last few days of staying on as Chair of the Broward Republican Party or taking a great career opportunity outside of Broward. After his many sacrifices volunteering for our Party, I’m happy that he will be able to finally put his new family first, where we all know it should be.
I want to thank Richard & Colleen Stolberg, who is also not running, for their faith in me during these last two years, where I played a more behind-the-scenes role, answering to the Broward Republican Executive Committee (“BREC”) Board and to you, our members. I know firsthand all the time, energy, travel, and money it cost them as Chair and Vice-Chair.
Knowing that BREC must continue to move ahead and look through the front windshield and not a rear-view mirror, and after much prayer, I am humbly announcing my candidacy for Chairman of BREC, and would appreciate your support.
My thoughts at this moment are like those of a coach who knows it’s the players who win the game, not the coach. Having been rooted in sports my whole life, my mentality of “Teamwork” will continue to be the most important part of my Chairmanship, along with the members and the new Board.
The wonderful things that Richard and Colleen have done for BREC speak for themselves. Membership is up along with fundraising. Our technology has the news media commenting on its success – It surpasses anything we could imagine. I have to thank them again and applaud them for their endless work. They both leave us in a position to show what can be accomplished while working as a Team.
Our Mission Statement is to elect Republicans in Broward County. Only through Teamwork and Unity can we attain this goal, and I am reaching out for your help…all of you.
I’ve been honored to serve as a Town Councilman in Plantation, and I was very thankful to the BREC for its assistance on my campaigns. I currently serve as the Chairman of the Broward County Housing Authority. During these last two years, I’ve been honored to serve as your Broward Republican Party Executive Director.
Please join me as we work as a “Team”, understanding that no “one player” wins the game by him or herself. My campaign for BREC Chair will be a positive one, and I hope you join our “Broward Republican Team” as we look to the future of the Broward Republican Party.
Have a Very Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless You All …
Candidate for BREC Chairman