Kinder, gentler GOP in FL?by Dara Kam | January 5th, 2013
Florida Republicans want to get back to basics after losing the presidential race, four congressional seats and super-majorities in both the state House and the state Senate in November.
And, mirroring national Republicans’ post-election introspection, Florida GOP leaders say they need to change their tone to broaden their appeal.
“It’s got to reinvent itself,” said Tom Slade, said of the Republican Party of Florida, which he chaired for three consecutive terms until 2000 and ushered in an era of GOP dominance.
Elected officials, state party staff and consultants repeatedly point back to Republican icon Ronald Reagan even as they look forward to instituting high-tech methods to spread the message of a softer, gentler GOP.
For some — including Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry — that means moving away from hot-button social issues such as abortion and refocusing on the principles of lower taxes and smaller government that earned broad support in a state where voters are almost evenly split between the parties.
“The Republican Party I grew up in is the party of Reagan. That was, ‘it’s morning in America, the shining city on the hill.’ It’s about optimism and it’s about hope. And for whatever reason, we have allowed folks that maybe aren’t even our party to poison the well. And somehow we’ve gotten this reputation that we’re ‘the party of ‘no,’ and that’s just not true,” Curry said. “That’s just not the party that I fell in love with.”
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