GOP activist’s motion to censure Crist slated for August voteby George Bennett | July 20th, 2009
County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein opposes Republican Executive Committee member Steven Ledewitz’s censure measure, but says “I don’t know if I can prevail on that” when 100 or so Republican Executive Committee members vote on it Aug. 12.
Ledewitz drew applause, but was ruled out of order by Dinerstein, when he raised the censure motion at a February GOP meeting. At the time, many Republicans were boiling at the Republican governor for appearing a few days earlier with Democratic President Obama at a Fort Myers pep rally for the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.
Ledewitz brought up the Crist censure again at the April GOP meeting, but the committee voted 66-24 to table the matter until August. Now the August meeting is approaching, and Ledewitz isn’t backing off. In fact, he says there’s a new reason the local GOP should condemn Crist: the governor’s appointment this month of Democrat Priscilla Taylor to fill a vacancy on the county commission.
Ledewitz, a convention and meeting planner, accused Crist in his origninal censure resolution of failing to support three local GOP congressional challengers in 2008 (Allen West, Ed Lynch and Marion Thorpe), being “less than enthusiastic” in backing Sen. John McCain, appointing too many Democrats and a “liberal” state Supreme Court justice (James E.C. Perry), and cheerleading with Obama at the Fort Myers stimulus event.
Now that Crist is running for the U.S. Senate, Ledewitz says, “I don’t believe that the Senate needs another Arlen Specter,” referring to the longtime Pennsylvania Republican who switched to the Democratic Party this year.
Dinerstein has been critical of the stimulus bill and says he was “very disappointed, with a capital ‘very’ ” that Crist appointed Taylor rather than a Republican to represent the overwhelmingly Democratic commission District 7.
But Dinerstein says it would be a bad idea to censure Crist and make Palm Beach County “a rebel county.”
“Charlie Crist is our governor. I don’t have to agree with 100 percent of the things he’s done to support him,” Dinerstein said. He added: “I would never want a Republican governor to feel unwelcome at our REC.”