BY BUDDY NEVINS
Facing opposition to his re-election, Richard DeNapoli said he would not run in December to continue as Broward Republican Party leader.
DeNapoli wrote in a Facebook post that he was moving out of South Florida to take another job. He also noted that his wife and newborn son spent “many hours alone” because his post as Broward Republican chair.
Vice Chair Colleen Stolberg is also not running again.
DeNapoli’s departure comes as Republicans lick their wounds from the defeats in the November election. In addition to the sweep by President Barack Obama, local Republicans lost key races.
Losing candidates included U. S. House candidate Adam Hasner, state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Sheriff Al Lamberti.
Some Republicans blamed DeNapoli for the losses.
DeNapoli vehemently denied the charges. His denials were repeated in his resignation note.
His written explanation did not mention his opponents, who were very vocal in stating he did not deserve another term as chair. It is not known how widespread the opposition to DeNapoli was, but he claimed to have enough votes to win another term.
One candidate who already announced plans to run against DeNapoli: Karen Harrington, a businesswoman who ran losing races twice against U. S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D–Weston. A statement from her is posted in Shark Tank, a local Republican blog, here.
Some party activists now believe BREC will be shaken up, with the right wing Tea Party elements pushed to the side.
Also discussed are an extensive outreach undertaken to the local Hispanic and Caribbean communities. There may even be an attempt to make a Hispanic or black a party officer.
The activists also said social issues, such as abortion and gay rights, have to be deemphasized if the party is to move ahead in Democratic-dominated Broward.
Undecided is what happens to the other BREC officers who served with DeNapoli.
And a big question for Republicans is how much noise the Tea Party folks will make during the party election next month. Two GOP activists told me they fear that a public brawl, complete with the airing of what some believe are extremist positions, could be detrimental to the party.
Here is DeNapoli’s post explaining his departure:
Fellow Broward Republicans,
First, thank you once again from the bottom of my heart for all of the hard work and sacrifice that each of you made in this 2012 election cycle. I have been incredibly humbled and honored to serve as your Chairman for these past two years. It has been a labor of love, and we have all spent countless hours helping our Republican candidates. I want to say thank you to all of you that have asked me to run for reelection, but I have decided to accept a career opportunity in another part of the state and will not be a candidate for reelection at the December organizational meeting. This opportunity just came up and it’s the best move for my career and my family. Colleen will also not seek reelection and has decided to spend more time with her husband and family.
So many of us worked so hard spending countless hours to help elect our Republican candidates, and that’s what made the recent results even harder to bear. We participated in one of the largest GOP efforts in Broward history – Volunteers logged hundreds of thousands of calls, knocked on tens of thousands of doors, and we helped all of our candidates by handing out over 85,000 palm cards and mailing over 90,000 GOTV mailers. Though nationally Republicans were overwhelmed by the Obama wave, thanks to your hard work, Mitt Romney got more votes in Broward than John McCain in 2008, even with a changing electorate.
This year’s elections were not a defeat of our core Republican principles. If Republicans nationally can articulate an optimistic vision for our country’s future that appeals to people across all walks of life, we will see future successes at the polls. As our RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry said in his recent Sun-Sentinel article, “…optimism is the fundamental principle of conservatism. We believe in the potential for greatness in the American individual….This nation is a foundation, and upon it any person – no matter their race or gender – can build a life filled with opportunity. At our core as Republicans we have ideas that are good for ALL Americans, and now we must work to ensure people hear this loud and clear.” I am very optimistic about the future of the Republican Party nationally and in Broward county.
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. In our recent email, we detailed the Platform and how the promises we made were the promises we kept (which I have pasted below). I hope that whoever comes forward to run for the officer positions of the Republican Party of Broward will continue these successes and improve upon them with new ideas.
Together, we have all built the largest REC in the state of Florida with blockbuster attendance and the foundation for a continued strong Republican Party in Broward. We saw tremendous fundraising successes over the last two years, raising over $385,000 of revenue for the party through regular events and fundraising appeals. We added about 200 new members to the REC. We instituted a solid internet presence and new clubs and committees were created.
The BREC needs to continue its fundraising successes, attract new members, improve our technology and establish an improved GOTV Program. Obama organizers had been deeply embedded in Broward for years before the 2012 election, focusing their persuasion efforts on person-to-person contact. Our Precinct Letter Project helped our members establish more personal contact with Republicans in their neighborhoods. Broward Republicans need to start campaigning for 2014 today.
Despite how much we suffered in redistricting and the Obama wave this November 6th, there were some local Broward bright spots. Despite the national Democrat surge, State Representative George Moraitis won reelection 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. Donna Korn won election to the Broward School Board in the countywide seat against the former Democratic Minority Leader of the Florida House – an amazing feat in Broward County! In August, Katie Leach also won election to the School Board, becoming the first Republican to win a school board seat in Broward since the year 2000. Vincent Boccard was elected Mayor of Coral Springs, and Dan Daley is a new Coral Springs City Commissioner. 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. Senator Bogdanoff won the Broward portion of her Broward/Palm Beach District, and Adam Hasner performed better in the Broward portion of his district than the Palm Beach portion. We must thank Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, Adam Hasner, Sheriff Lamberti and Congressman West for their service to Broward’s residents.
Broward needs to reelect State Representative George Moraitis and County Commissioner LaMarca, as well as our statewide elected officials: Governor Scott, Attorney General Bondi, CFO Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Putnam. They will all be targeted by the Democrats. The BREC needs to continue to support our Republican nominees in other races and in local off-year elections. We did this in 2011 and 2012, and we need to continue to support our local candidates.
I must thank Rico Petrocelli, our Executive Director, for all of the hard work that he has put into his role. Special thanks also to our wonderful Executive Board. There is no way that we could have accomplished what we did without them. Our Vice-Chair Colleen Stolberg diligently worked to recruit new REC members and helped us become the largest REC in the State of Florida. Thanks to the efforts of our Treasurer Mark McCarthy, we were able to remove thousands of deceased voters from the rolls and establish a Federal Campaign Account that allowed us to purchase all of those Romney/Ryan signs and bumper stickers. Our Secretary Michael De Gruccio served as the Lincoln Day Chair and major fundraiser for 2011 and 2012 and worked day and night at the Pompano HQ coordinating our Get Out The Vote and Poll Watching/Poll Campaigning efforts. RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day campaigned tirelessly all over the country inspiring crowds and working to get our Republican candidates elected. State Committeeman Ed Kennedy has been a wonderful resource to the Board and campaigns.
Lastly, I could not have made the commitment I did without the support of my wife – the love of my life. She spent many an evening alone, most recently with our newborn son, while I was participating in our various functions and going to club meetings across the county. When I ran for Chairman two years ago, I was still dating Brigita. We got married in Italy in August 2011 and in August 2012 I became a proud father when Victor Alfred DeNapoli was born. Though it’s tough to leave Broward and my passion for politics, I know that there are good things ahead for myself and my family.
Being the County Chairman or serving on the Board is not a glamorous position…it’s a public service position. Anyone who does this volunteer job quickly realizes that it’s a labor of love that requires time, patience, and constant dedication – oftentimes into the wee hours of the night. But it is well worth the effort. I am happy to count so many of you as my friends. The strength of our organization lies in its members. Our volunteers and members are the heart and soul of our Broward Republican Party, and without you, there would be no Broward Republican Party and no victories in any cycle.
Thank you once again for your sacrifice to our mutual cause, for your support of me as your Chairman, and for your friendship. I look forward to seeing you all very soon and my family and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Joyous Holiday Season.
All the best,