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Broward GOP chair quits

The chair of the Broward GOP has resigned after less than a year which continues the cycle of years of frequent turnover.

According to Red Broward, Christine Butler sent an email to the Broward Republican Executive Committee stating that she is getting married and moving to Palm Beach County where she might run for Supervisor of Elections. Her resignation is effective Aug. 31. Butler could not be reached.

As a newcomer in Palm Beach County, Butler will likely face an uphill battle if she decides to challenge Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher. A former state legislator who was first elected to the supervisor position in 2008, Bucher will have the advantage of name recognition and being a Democrat in a county with 360,000 registered Democrats and 238,000 registered Republicans. She was also one of the leading critics of the botched attempted by Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to purge the voter rolls of non-citizens.

Butler, an attorney, was elected to her position by party activists in December to replace former Davie mayor Tom Truex who served for about a year before deciding not to run again.

The chair of the Broward Republican Executive Committee has the difficult task of trying to make inroads in a left-leaning county amid various GOP factions that range from tea party types to more moderate Republicans.

In recent years, Broward has rarely elected Republicans countywide but the party can have more influence in statewide elections because it has one of the larger contingents of GOP voters in the state.

There are about 240,000 registered GOP voters in Broward while the Democrats have about 550,000 and independents total about 300,000.

Ideally, such groups serve as the foot soldiers and help spread the word about local, state and federal candidates. But Republicans campaigning for president and U.S. Senate will set up their own grassroots operations to reach out to local voters.

Some activists have said that the group has strayed from that mission at times by getting distracted by internal fighting -- for example whether to oust a member who favored same-sex marriage. In 2014, the group’s invited speakers included a conspiracy theorist and a woman parodied on The Daily Show for her opposition to a long-time mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that wanted to expand.

While the Broward Republicans have struggled to keep a chair in the position for two years, the Broward Democrats have their own internal brawl every four years about whether Mitch Ceasar should remain the chair.

This post has been updated.

 

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