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Broward GOP chairman says he didn't dis Rubio

Broward GOP chairman Chip LaMarca disputes conservative activist Javier Manjarres' take on events leading up to Monday's meeting where Marco Rubio spoke.

Manjarres had said that GOP leaders suggested that he ask Rubio to postpone so they could focus on the Broward corruption scandals -- which involve several Democrats. But ultimately Rubio was not asked to step aside, and gave a rousing speech that drew much applause in a jam-packed room.

LaMarca said he didn't ask Marjarres to disinvite Rubio -- and says if he needed to do that he would have called Rubio himself. LaMarca said that GOP leaders had talked about postponing to focus on corruption matters, but ultimately decided they could hear from Rubio and discuss the ethical issues in the wake of the scandal that included the arrests of County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, School Board Member Beverly Gallagher and former Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Samuels.

The spat about whether or not anyone wanted Rubio to not show up is another sign of tension between Broward Republicans about whether to support Rubio or his rival, Gov. Charlie Crist, for U.S. Senate. Manjarres, who heads up the Conservative Republican Alliance and isn't a member of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, is a big Rubio fan pushing for a straw poll vote.

LaMarca says nice things about Rubio and Crist and his official line about whether to have a straw poll is if the members want one, they will have one. But LaMarca is viewed as a Crist ally -- he is in frequent communication with Crist's office regarding appointments to replace Eggelletion and Gallagher who were both suspended.