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DLP vs. RPOF: Another headache for the Grand Old Party in Florida

A Republican is suing the Republican Party of Florida, saying it disenfranchised him and some Republican voters.

On its face, the lawsuit filed last week by former Miami-Dade School Board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla looks like a simple paperwork fight over an obscure party position.

But the underpinnings of the case are much more complicated, involving the byzantine politics of Miami-Dade and the behind-the-scenes battle in Tallahassee for who leads the Florida House in six years.

The lawsuit is also another public-relations headache for the Republican Party of Florida, which would prefer to focus its energies on bigger matters, like promoting Gov. Rick Scott.

But RPOF has no choice. It has to deal with Diaz de la Portilla.

He was elected Aug. 14 as Republican State Executive Committeeman from Miami-Dade. The party, though, refused to seat him. It said he forgot to submit a loyalty oath to the party in Tallahassee.

Diaz de la Portilla said that’s false.

“The law is on my side,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “I won the election. And I filed my loyalty oath. I don’t see what the problem is, why they want to disenfranchise Republican voters.”

Party spokesman Brian Burgess said RPOF isn’t cancelling Republican votes; it’s ensuring the rules are properly followed.

Burgess said he couldn’t comment on Diaz de la Portilla’s suit, filed last Tuesday. A Friday hearing on the case was delayed until another date.

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