Florida's GOP Chairman Resigns, Claims Right-Wingers Tore the Party Apart to Get Him

Chairman Jim Greer said he "cannot be a participant in the shredding and tearing of the fabric of the Republican Party."

TOO MUCH HEAT IN THE SUNSHINE STATE.... Perhaps the most important political story of the day isn't out of D.C., but rather, about 900 miles south.

On a conference call with reporters just now, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer officially announced his resignation, effective on February 20. He took the opportunity to tear into his right-wing critics for wanting a smaller party and accused them of pulling apart the GOP itself in order to take him out.

Greer is an ally of Gov. Charlie Crist, a relative GOP moderate who is being vigorously challenged in this year's Senate primary by the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Supporters of Rubio had been accusing Greer of mismanaging party funds and of being biased in Crist's favor, all of which Greer has strongly denied. In his resignation, Greer said he could no longer put the party through this divisive process -- but he clearly didn't mind taking some parting shots on the way out.

Given that Greer was being forced out of his job by right-wing contingents, he felt largely unrestrained when it came to assessing the Republican factions that want to drag the party even further to the right. Greer said his detractors were so intent on ousting him, they were prepared to "burn the house down and destroy the Republican Party of Florida."

He added that he came to realize that he "cannot be a participant in the shredding and tearing of the fabric of the Republican Party.

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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