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Re-elected Florida GOP Chairman Curry wants to reclaim Reagan, dispel ‘party of no’ label

by George Bennett | January 5th, 2013

ORLANDO — The Republican Party of Florida unanimously reelected Lenny Curry as chairman this morning without opposition.

The nation’s largest battleground state went to President Barack Obama in November and also delivered an easy victory for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who was once considered a top GOP target. But state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, and other party leaders don’t blame Curry for the disappointments.

“Lenny does a great job. These things were bigger than us. You have to look at the whole national picture,” Baxley said. Gov. Rick Scott, whose 2014 re-election will be the state GOP’s biggest concern over the next two years, also said Curry has done a “great job.”

Curry said he wants Republicans to reclaim the optimism of party icon Ronald Reagan.

“We have allowed someone else to carry our message. There’s now this sort of stigma that the Republican Party is the party of no, the party that doesn’t believe in individuals, the party that dislikes. It’s just not true,” said Curry, who is 42.

“I fell in love with the party of Ronald Reagan when I was a kid. I fell in love with it because it was about morning in America. Those aren’t just words. We lived that…It’s about morning in America and it’s about the shining city on the hill and it’s up to us in this room to not be tagged as the party of no,” Curry said.

Curry also said national soul-searching within the GOP after the 2012 losses shouldn’t be confused with weakness.

“Let’s be very clear and very plain to the critics. The Republican Party, the Republican Party here in the state Florida, is strong,” Curry said. “To the critics I say debate in the pursuit of truth and the pursuit of solutions, which is what we are doing, that’s good and that’s healthy and that demonstrates our commitment to our principles.”

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