The Republican leadership in Florida's biggest county is on the verge of a changing of the guard just as the GOP struggles to reinvent itself as the minority party in Washington.
Miami-Dade County Chairwoman Mary Ellen Miller, who has led the local party for most of the past 17 years, is stepping down at the end of this month. Since former Gov. Jeb Bush recruited her to become active in the party when he served as chairman in the mid-1980s, Miller's departure at the same time President Bush leaves the White House is yet another sign of the end of an era.
In a new age of texting and Twittering, the 80-year-old Miller is a throwback. She gives out her cellphone number only to family members. The home page of the local party's website still carries pictures of Jeb Bush and Ronald Reagan -- none of Gov. Charlie Crist -- and a link to 2004 election results headlined "Florida is Bush country.''
Vying to replace the grandmother of 10, who's too modest to list her accomplishments, are two media-savvy, young guns: 43-year-old state legislator David Rivera, who worked on the January referendum to expand slot machines in Miami-Dade, and 28-year-old political consultant Carlos Curbelo, who helped steer the reelection campaigns of U.S. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart.
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