UPDATED: State Rep. Tom Grady, a wealthy Naples Republican is the latest defection from the Charlie Crist U.S. Senate campaign. He was a member of the campaign's statewide finance team and a Southwest Florida regional chairman. Grady suggests that Crist's positioning as an independent and his recent veto is to blame.
His letter (read it below) cites an interesting reason: "As I reviewed your updated campaign website, I noticed a disheartening fact. Your website has eliminated all references to our Republican Party , or as you frequently refer to it, the party of Lincoln. As a long-time personal friend, I had suspected you were considering a break from the party when my recent calls went unanswered."
Crist's campaign rejected the assertion, calling it a fabricated story. “No Republican references have been scrubbed from our website, period," said Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman. "You can view Governor Crist’s common sense conservative record on our website today, the same way you could before."
Grady further suggests Crist's "recent actions have not been about policy, but about emotion and crying. Policy and people have suffered as a result," he wrote, quoting, in part, a recent Peggy Noonan piece about Crist.
Rep. Tom Grady
P.O. Box 10
Naples, FL 34106
April 20, 2010
Via email to email@example.com
The for U.S. Senate
P.O. Box 1694
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Re: Resignation as Regional Chairman of the Charlie Crist for Senate Campaign
and from the Statewide Finance Team
This evening, as I reviewed your updated campaign website, I noticed a disheartening fact. Your website has eliminated all references to our Republican Party, or as you frequently refer to it, the party of Lincoln.
As a long-time personal friend, I had suspected you were considering a break from the party when my recent calls went unanswered. This comes at a time when we clearly differ on what it means to be a conservative with a firm belief in less government, less taxing, less spending and more freedom.
That is why it is with sadness that I write this letter to you, my friend and mentor.
In May 2007, as you were leaving for a state visit to Israel, you called and encouraged me to run for the state House of Representatives. You said I should join you in Tallahassee and serve the people of Florida. I accepted the challenge. Like you, I campaigned as a Republican, and a solid fiscal conservative. With your help, I was elected in 2008.
Then, we both agreed with Abraham Lincoln, the founder of our party, who stressed that "Important principles must be inflexible." Those conservative free market principles we both campaigned on were - and remain - just that.
But more recently, a statement from Peggy Noonan better illustrates what appears to be your guiding principle as Governor. Noonan wrote, "Politics is about policy. It's not about who's emotional and who cries or makes you cry." I agree. Unfortunately, I don't believe you do, or at least you no longer do. Your recent actions have not been about policy, but about emotion and crying. Policy and people have suffered as a result.
We have always disagreed on some important issues (market based insurance, claims of climate change, judicial appointments), but the list appears to be growing (education excellence, ending entitlements, rail). Thus, it is with sadness that I hereby resign from the Statewide Finance Team and as the Southwest Florida Regional Chairman for the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate campaign.
Regardless, I continue to value our friendship. Let's be sure that does not change. Ann and I look forward to that dinner we've been planning with you and your lovely bride, Carole, and I hope we can do that soon.