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Tom Slade weighs in on RPOF chair race

The ever-quotable Tom Slade, former chair of the Republican Party of Florida, is weighing in on the race for RPOF chair (a contest in which he doesn't get to vote). Here's a letter he's sending out to Republican Executive Committee members in support of Jefferson Committeeman Dave Bitner, a lobbyist and former legislator.

My dear fellow Republicans:

In Florida, the GOP has worked hard for our successes: all four cabinet seats and historic, veto-proof majorities in the state legislature.  The only thing missing is an RPOF Chairman to harness the grassroots energy we have, promote our conservative , and convert our resources into success up and down the ballot in 2012. 

However, with the very recent infighting that has plagued our Party, it is clear now more than ever that we need strong, principled leadership.  We need a statesman with solid experience but who is open to fresh ideas and new tactics. 

Dave Bitner is that leader.

Over the past twenty years, it has been an honor to know Dave and work with him in the trenches to elect Republicans. 

Dave is a rock-solid conservative leader with the vision, passion, and competence to be one of the best RPOF Chairman we’ve ever had.  Dave have remarkable bona fides to be Chairman - successful businessman, experienced legislator, hard-working family man, and diligent state committeeman. Dave is also an honest broker who has the rare ability to bring folks together to get things done.

Now that Florida has 29 electoral votes, we are truly the number-one battleground state for 2012.  In addition to day-to-day operations, our next Chairman must reorganize the state party apparatus, handle the redistricting process, and prepare for the RNC convention. As an aggressive fundraiser, Dave can raise the money it will take to carry out these additional initiatives. 

As a Jefferson County Committeeman, Dave understands how to balance cutting-edge campaign technology with tried-and-true methods of direct personal contact and listening to the people.  Dave knows that there is no better spokesman for our party than local party officials, precinct leaders and neighbors.

Dave has the legislative experience to support the pro-jobs, pro-growth policies of Governor Scott, Senate President Haridopolos and Speaker Cannon, while also working closely with the grassroots to ensure that they have the resources they need in counties across the state. 

Years ago, I was entrusted to lead our Party into battle, and now there’s no one that I would trust more to lead us into battle than Dave. I am proud to wholeheartedly endorse Dave Bitner for Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.


Tom Slade



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The difference between Joe Gruters & the rest of the field is very evident. He’s the only one to travel to all 67 counties in the State of Florida & personally visit with every Chairman, Committeewoman, & Committeeman of all the Republican Executive Committees. His primary reason is to ask each of them about their thoughts on the state of the RPOF & what they
want to see from the next Chairman. Of course this face to face contact will allow Joe to present his qualifications for the job. This personal interaction with all the voters presents the best opportunity for the voters to ask direct questions of Joe.

His book of knowledge on electioneering is a very strong suit in his portfolio. Just the effort to meet everyone is almost beyond the capabilities of many of the other candidates. His background for a man in his 30′s includes a broad spectrum of political races where he has earned his stripes.

Being a native Floridian gives Joe a good perspective of what he has witnessed & participated in the political world of our state. Youth does have its advantages for the party as it does provide the energy to accomplish things. Joe has been personally involved in a number of campaigns, & many of them have included an emphasis on modern technology. He is well aware that people still make the decisions & his expertise lies in reaching them & having their votes cast for Republican candidates.

Joe has publicly stated that win or lose, the RPOF must coalesce behind the winner & move the party forward to win the races in 2012. His strategizing with all of the members of the RPOF Executive Committee members is invaluable. All of the voters in this race come from Florida’s 67 counties & they are carrying the wishes of their counties REC to the RPOF. The reality of the political playing field is that the old top down method is being revamped to include much more bottom up input. Joe is all about reaching out to ALL of the Republican voters in Florida. He has reached out to the many varied 'Tea Party" groups & visited with many of their leaders & attended their events. The leaders of the Sarasota, Charlotte & Manatee County area "Tea Parties" have all publicly endorsed Joe in his bid for the Chairmanship of the RPOF.

His area of financial expertise will benefit the RPOF greatly as an organization. His plan includes the transparency needed to give Florida Republicans the confidence they need to contribute to the party & believe their money is being put to work as they request. He already has over $550,000 in pledges & the vote is not until January 15th.

Folks should look at the entire field of candidates & come to their own conclusion.

I believe in Joe for all the right reasons.

Happy New Year to everyone.


No one has put in the effort Joe has. He has put over 6,000 travelling the state visiting Republican Committees. That is unprecedented.


Sorry Tom, Dave Bitner is a good guy, but he's just not what we need to take us into the 2012 Presidential election. Being a "rock-solid conservative" as a candidate for RPOF Chair is something all people running for the office are. What we need is a difference maker. Joe Gruters is a difference maker. Joe is the youngest member of the race with the freshest ideas. Joe will bring a different perspective to the position that has been lacking and certainly can't be brought by a recycled career politician and lobbyist. The voters need to vote in Joe Gruters as the next RPOF Chair.


Does Joe pay by the word or do you sycophants just have that little of a life?

His team reminds me of Team Doug here in Orlando Irritating and insignificant)

Anyone but Joe! He needs to join his boys Crist and Greer in laying low.

Rino Hunter

Joe Gruters is a Rino who loves Charlie the Flip Flopper Crist. He thinks Crist is a great Governor and would've been a great Senator just google all his quotes. He thought Marco Rubio was supported by right wingers who weren't really grass roots people. Vote no on Joe.


Joe Gruters: A Man With "Champagne Taste" with "Other People's Money"



719 Club

Gimme a break. Dave Bitner is just a lobbyist and recycled career politician, Russ? How we mock what we don't understand.

Is that what you would call former state senator Tom Slade, who went on to be the most successful GOP state chairman in modern history---electing Jeb & a GOP cabinet and legislature?

And what about former lobbyist Haley Barbour, the RNC chairman who engineered the 94 GOP Revolution.

Your enthusiasm for Joe G. is commendable, but don't build him up by tearing others down.

So don't try tearing down someone like Dave Bitner, who's been fighting Democrats in the trenches for over three decades.

That's back when the D's ruled with an iron fisted majority, and longer than some folks have even been alive.

Paul A Cajka

Joe Gruters is the farthest thing from a RINO. He's a solid conservative Republican who works hard for party unity and election victories.
Support Joe for RPOF Chairman!

Tad MacKie

Obviously, Muckraker does not know Joe... I do. And, really?? has resorted to name-calling. I guess when the going gets a little bit tough, the nukes come out and the real stripes show through.

The harsh reality (for the others) is that Joe Gruters is the best candidate in the field. I worked directly with him and, as a life-time Republican and one who has been sorely disappointed with the establishment GOP, Joe is a breath of fresh air.

The diference he was able to effect at the SRQ REC made it the #1 County REC in the state (I tracked the results) and yet, He'll tell you it was us rather than take the credit for himself.

I'm convinced Joe will do the same for the RPOF... Vote Joe Gruters on Jan 15. He's the best candidate, by far.

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