Last night’s candidate forum of the Broward GOP chair hopefuls offered a stark contrast of styles, personalities and party experience. All four candidates, Christine Butler, Jim Gleason, Bob Sutton and Tom Truex, had 30 minutes to answer questions and explain why they should be the next chairperson of the Broward Republican Executive Committee.
Bob Sutton, a Coral Springs high school math teacher and small business owner, kicked off the event with his ideas to attract new voters, raise money to elect Broward Republicans and his plan to allow BREC members to actually contact their fellow BREC members. Sutton called for transparency in all BREC financial matters. Sutton said his experience teaching minority students how to run a business gives him a leg up in minority outreach programs. Sutton said clubs would be a key component in getting BREC involved in community events.
Jim Gleason, a Coral Springs businessman, focused upon educating potential candidates, community outreach and technology. Gleason shocked the crowd when he showed the BREC website still featured policy documents from 2008. Gleason called for a program where committees would focus on specific areas of the county.
Vice Chair Christine Butler gave the same lackluster performance she gave at meetings last week. Her best argument why she should be elected chair? She is already “in the position now.” Butler said she needs an executive director; How is she going to pay for one? Who knows, but rest assured, she will pick a crony for that spot.
Butler is going to need lots of help. She told the crowd she “doesn’t like to stuff envelopes.”
The most stunning moment for Butler came when an Oakland Park committeeman asked about Tuesday’s close election in Oakland Park. He said he called BREC last week to inquire about getting help for the two Republican candidates. The committeeman said his message was never returned. Butler stunned the crowd when she told him to “call earlier”.
Tom Truex, a Davie attorney with judicial hopes, ended the night with performance described by neutral parties as “condescending” and “cocky.” Truex blasted Butler’s rules which would limit the freedom of the press. He also quoted Ebenezeer Scrooge.(!) He bragged about raising $125,000 for his Davie mayoral race. He didn’t say if that was for his winning bid or the time he got trounced by Judy Paul. He praised Chip LaMarca and Troy Samuels. He made no mention of Judy Stern. Truex struggled with a question asking him to identify Broward Young Republicans.
A Hallandale committeewoman asked Truex to give specific examples of helping other candidates. Truex said he walked precincts and made phone calls before being elected to the Davie town council. But after being elected mayor his support was limited because he was now a “v.i.p.” Yes, Truex said he could not help other candidates because he was a “very important person.” Truex said he is now an F.I.P.- “formerly important person.” Ah, hubris.
Tonight’s debate is hosted by Truex crony and fellow V.I.P. Jeff Rubinoff in Davie. Bring the kids.