BY BUDDY NEVINS
Another victim of the Democratic ticket’s crushing victory may be Broward Republican Chair Richard DeNapoli.
Party dissidents are plotting against DeNapoli. They want to make a run at him during the election for chairman next month.
The chairman is charged with…well, just look at the election results.
Remember, the raison d’être for any political party is to win elections.
Some in the party organization, formally called the Broward Republican Executive Committee or BREC, say DeNapoli’s team muffed it.
Well-funded Republicans losing include Sheriff Al Lamberti, state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and candidate for U. S. House, Adam Hasner. And President Barack Obama pulled the same Democratic margin out of Broward as four years ago.
In addition to losing some key seats, critics contends he failed to staff the polls with volunteers adequately during Early Voting and Election Day.
Other than the election, DeNapoli is accused of making problems for the future.
A critic says he failed to protect the only Republican county commissioner during redistricting. Now Commissioner Chip LaMarca has a much tougher re-election.
A DeNapoli functionary, Michael De Gruccio, was appointed to the School Board redistricting committee and failed to attend meeting. That left Republican member Katie Leach without party help in the fight to preserve her district.
Most of all I sense that DeNapoli turns off some Republicans with his personality. He is repeatedly called a self-aggrandizer who runs BREC with one eye on the party and another in the mirror.
“Everything is about Richard. It is Richard did this and Richard did that,” said one BREC member.
DeNapoli must see the attack coming because he sent an eight point e-mail this week defending his reign.
Both DeNapoli and Democratic boss Mitch Ceasar are facing a wave of criticism at their respective elections next month. Yet DeNapoli instituted many of the reforms that Democrat dissidents demand including a solid Internet presence and an strengthening of the political clubs.
DeNapoli stumbled on redistricting. But he helped hold on to two School Board seats in an overwhelming Democratic county.
Could anybody have done better against the overpowering Obama machine?
I doubt it, but Republican committee members will have to make that call.
DeNapoli’s lengthy e-mail, which also was posted on Facebook:
Promises Made, Promises Kept
Dear Fellow Broward Republicans,
When Colleen Stolberg and I ran for Chair and Vice-Chair two years ago, we issued an Eight Point Platform for the Almost Eight Hundred Precincts in Broward County. Below, we detail the Platform and how the promises we made were the promises we kept.
All the Best,
Richard DeNapoli, Chairman
“1. GOP Unity. By focusing on our shared conservative values and what unites us rather than on what divides us, we can build a better organization. Together, we can accomplish anything.”
- Together, as an organization, we grew our membership and built the largest REC in the State of Florida…in the most Democrat-dominated county in Florida. Together, we had over 300 people at every meeting. Together we pulled in crowds of 450 at Lincoln Day 2011, over 600 at the Grand Old Party BBQ, and almost 500 at our Lincoln Day 2012. A growing membership and blockbuster attendance at meetings and events is a sure sign of a united organization.
“2. Growing Our Membership through the “800 Club.” There are almost 800 precincts in Broward County. For the upcoming elections, we should try to fill these precincts with active Committemen and Committeewomen. Only through an active and large membership can we achieve our long-term goals of getting more Republicans elected.”
- We added almost 200 new members in the last two years thanks to our outreach efforts. Thanks to Vice Chair Colleen Stolberg for her amazing work building our organization.
“3. Empowering our Members and Local Clubs. The Board of the BREC exists to serve its committee members, and servant leaders are what we aim to be as your Chair and Vice-Chair. We should also provide our committee members with the opportunity to make public comments at every meeting. We must strive to give each and every committee member and club the tools they need to succeed in organizing their precincts. The stronger our local clubs and organizations are, the stronger the Executive Committee will be. Our local club Presidents should meet regularly and elect a Chair of the Club Presidents on a yearly basis that sits on the dais with the rest of the Board and participates in Executive Board meetings. …”
- At our very first meeting, we allowed public comments and motions…and continued this for the last two years.
- We provided all of our members with training manuals and precinct listsin 2011 – far in advance of the elections.
- The Weston Club was restarted and the Republican Club of Central Broward was created. Both quickly became very successful. The BREC Jewish Outreach Committee was also started which in turn became very successful.
- We offered our members a way to reach out to the Republicans in their precincts via our Precinct Letter Project. This allowed our members to contact over 50,000 Republican households and provide them with a customized voter guide to help all of our candidates on the ballot. Though we won’t know turnout numbers by registration for a couple of weeks, in precincts where members sent letters, there was higher performance compared to neighboring similar precincts. Additionally, the BREC sent out 40,000 of these letters and guides to areas not represented by REC members to help turn out the vote. This assisted our preferred candidates in the nonpartisan races tremendously. An example is Coral Springs: Every precinct in Coral Springs was covered, where Vincent Boccard and Dan Daley won election. The entire city of Margate was covered, and our two candidates there came very close to winning their races.
- We held regular Club Presidents meetings, and the club presidents elected Chairs of the Club Presidents (though they didn’t want to sit on the dais).
“4. Fundraising. We need active fundraising throughout the year through regular Lincoln Day, Reagan Day, and other functions that will enable us to hire an Executive Director to run our operations and headquarters as well as to provide more resources for our members and candidates. As your Treasurer, Richard took it upon himself to focus on fundraising to keep our organization going through the November election. We need to remain diligent throughout the year so we always have enough money to achieve our goals.”
- The total of all monies raised during the last two years was revenue of $385,144.
- Less than three months after our election, we held our first Lincoln Day, featuring Keynote Speaker Governor Scott and Special Guests RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day and Congressman Allen West. We netted $90,000.
- In June 2011, we held our Grand Old Party BBQ featuring Congressman Allen West and just about every Republican candidate running for office in Broward County. We netted about $15,000.
- In September 2011, Presidency 5 we had more than 170 attendees from Broward. This resulted in some $30,000 netted for the Republican Party of Florida, which in turn referred $4,000 to the BREC.
- We held our second Lincoln Day in May 2012 with Keynote Speaker Attorney General Pam Bondi and Special Guests CFO Jeff Atwater and Congressman Allen West.
- We collected tens of thousands of dollars throughout both years in our regular fundraising appeals and monthly sponsors at meetings.
- We opened a Federal Account thanks to the hard work of Treasurer Mark McCarthy – this enabled us to make purchases of Romney/Ryan signs, bumper stickers, etc. We distributed over 8,000 Romney/Ryan signs and bumper stickers throughout Broward – mostly paid for through contributions to the Federal account.
“5. Committees. There is a lot of talent among our Executive Committee members. We are all leaders of our own precincts. We need leaders for (a variety of) … committees…”
- We appointed various members to various committees. Colleen Stolberg managed our Membership Committee, and we added almost 200 new members
- Michael De Gruccio spearheaded our Registration Committee, and many of our members went out doing voter registration. The RPOF set a goal of a little more than 12,000 new Republican registrations. Together, Broward exceeded our goals with new Republican registrations of over 18,000 since the 2010 General Election.
- Richard focused on Candidate Recruitment, and we had more candidates than at any point in recent memory, and appointed members to various leadership councils and outreach committees.
- We held monthly charitable drives that were spearheaded by Heather Moraitis, wife of George Moraitis, our State Representative.
“6. Technology. As the county with the second largest number of registered Republicans in Florida, we need a website that is second to none. Campaigns have become increasingly focused on technology, and we need to keep up with these advances while remaining focused on the time-tested, effective grassroots techniques.”
- Richard redesigned our website and updated it regularly over the past two years.
- Richard established our Facebook Fan page in 2011, and it has over 20,000 fans today. We also utilized Facebook advertising to attract attendees and new members to our events and meetings.
- Our email list has attracted over 20,000 contacts.
- Utilizing sign-up forms online, we referred over 500 volunteers – many first time volunteers – to the Romney and Broward GOP Victory offices.
- Richard also reached out to new people via robo calls.
- We received accolades in local press for our advances in technology.
“7. GOTV Training. It can be overwhelming when someone first gets involved in our organization. Through regular precinct training, we can help our members succeed.”
- The Board created and designed, after consultation with the Club Presidents, the Broward GOP Precinct Training Manual, which was presented at four different training sessions throughout the four corners of Broward in November 2011.
- This training manual was presented by Richard at an RPOF meeting and it quickly became the model for all the RECs across the state of Florida.
“8. Shared Celebrations. Recognizing the efforts of our local clubs, volunteers and members will promote more goodwill throughout our organization.”
- We have thanked our members with mentions at meetings, presented lifetime achievement awards to our long serving members, presented awards to our elected officials, presented member-of-the-year awards, Young Republican of the Year awards, and recognized our host committee members for our various fundraisers in print and online advertising.
Lastly, beyond the Eight Point Platform, we also accomplished the following as an organization:
- We garnered national news attention when we unearthed evidence and were successful in having thousands of dead voters removed from the rolls in Broward.
- We fought the Broward Supervisor of Elections and successfully restored an Early Voting Site to the east side of Broward (this site had the highest percentage of Republican voters of all the Early Voting sites in the August 2012 primary).
- We fielded candidates in more races than ever in recent memory throughout the county.
- We had the liberal League of Women Voters Guide removed from the Broward Supervisor of Election’s website.
- We chased absentee Republican voters with robocalls, mailings, and phone banking, and had a higher return rate than the Democrats.
- We distributed 85,000 palm card voter guides for Early Voting and Election Day, and online recommendations were downloaded over 1,000 times.
- We remodeled the BREC HQ, and opened it up to all candidates.
- We defended Congressman West and multiple other candidates during redistricting hearings that many of our members and officers attended.
- We opened two Broward GOP Victory offices South of I-595, where tens of thousands of calls have been made to turn out the Republican vote.
- Broward saw the first Republican elected to the School Board since the year 2000 when Katie Leach was elected in August, and all of our recommended candidates either won their August races outright or made it to the November election.
- Though is was a tough year, redistricting hurt our prospects and the National Democrat surge claimed as many as five GOP incumbents (some in what many would consider “safe seats”) from the Florida State House (including the incoming Speaker Designate), two State Senate seats, and three Congressional seats, there were some bright spots in Broward County….
- George Moraitis was reelected by 10 points in a district that went from having a 7.5% Republican registration advantage to only a 1.1% Republican advantage after redistricting.
- Vincent Boccard was elected Mayor of Coral Springs, and Dan Daley is a new Coral Springs City Commissioner. Republicans now hold 4 of 5 seats in Coral Springs. Patty Asseff won reelection to the Hollywood City Commission. Jeff Nelson was reelected in Southwest Ranches and Jeff Green was reelected in Cooper City. Congressman Mario Diaz Balart will also continue to represent a portion of Broward County.
- Donna Korn won election to the School Board in the at-large seat, an amazing feat in Broward County against the former Democratic Leader of the Florida House!
While there may be good election cycles and bad election cycles, you can be assured that our promises made have been our promises kept. We will always work hard on behalf of our Republican candidates and the BREC.
All the best,
Richard DeNapoli & Colleen Stolberg