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‘Donors also read The Palm Beach Post,’ county GOP official says in arguing for review of party finances

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 by George Bennett

The Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee voted Wednesday night to appoint an “ad hoc special audit committee” to review party finances over the past 18 months.

The review, to be performed by five REC members, comes after a severe fundraising downturn led the party to slash its budget by 44 percent, from $310,000 to $172,667.

Former county GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein, who opted not to seek re-election in December after 10 years on the job, said he has nothing to hide, but argued the “audit” would only generate bad press for the local party.

“If you want to keep this in The Palm Beach Post, vote for the motion. If you’re ready for Ira and I and all of us to shake hands…and do the work of the committee, vote no,” Dinerstein said.

The “Ira” Dinerstein mentioned is current Chairman Ira Sabin. Earlier in the meeting, Sabin and Dinerstein blamed each other for the party’s financial woes. But Sabin, who was treasurer from 2010 to 2012, agreed with Dinerstein that an audit would bring negative attention.

“My feeling is, as Sid’s is, let’s get it out of the newspapers,” Sabin said.

Sabin and Dinerstein ended up shaking hands toward the end of the meeting.

Palm Beach Republican Club President Marie Davis, who narrowly lost to Sabin in the December vote for party chair, argued otherwise.

“From the point of view of the public looking at us and the Democrats looking at us, this is probably a very good idea to move forward with a very general audit. I think we’ll be happy that we did in the long run,” Davis said.

“And also keep in mind the donors also read The Palm Beach Post, and if they think we’ve done an internal audit to see how we can conduct business better, I think that will make fundraising a little bit easier,” Davis said.

Davis’ argument carried more weight than the arguments of the current and former chairmen. REC members voted 67-to-19 to go ahead with the financial review.

Longtime county GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein won’t seek reelection

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 by George Bennett

Dinerstein

Longtime Palm Beach County Republican Party Chairman Sid Dinerstein said today that he will step aside in December after 10 years.

Dinerstein has been elected to five consecutive two-year terms as head of the county GOP. His current term ends in December.

“It’s been 10 years and it’s a volunteer job and my wife and I have given up a lot of things so that I could do this. This is a discussion that went on over many months and it has absolutely nothing to with the outcome of the election,” Dinerstein said.

In a county where Democrats hold a registration advantage over Republicans of about 16 percentage points, Dinerstein has played the role of happy warrior, championing Republican positions and long-shot candidates.

But Dinerstein had an uncharacteristically pessimistic take on President Barack Obama’s reelection Tuesday. (more…)

County GOP Chairman Dinerstein: ‘You can’t catch Mitt’

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 by George Bennett

Dinerstein

Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein said he’s not endorsing GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, but “if I were king, I’d ask all the others to drop out…There’s just no path for anyone else.”

Dinerstein was asked about Rick Santorum‘s victories Tuesday in nonbinding contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado and whether they indicate that Romney has a problem with the party’s conservative base.

“There’s less there than meets the eye. As long as there are primaries, there will be conservatives who will vote for some conservative who isn’t Mitt Romney. When the primaries end or when everyone gives up, the conservatives will support Mitt Romney,” Dinerstein said.

“At the end of the day, you can’t catch Mitt…This was decided with the Florida primary,” Dinerstein said.

With Cain out, Palm Beach County GOP scrambles for new Lincoln Day keynoter

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by George Bennett

Cain

Even before Herman Cain “suspended” his presidential candidacy, the Palm Beach County Republican Party was growing uneasy about having Cain as keynote speaker for the party’s Jan. 28 Lincoln Day fundraising dinner.

Now county Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein is scrambling to line up another big-name speaker for the dinner, which takes place three days before Florida’s presidential primary.

When the local GOP landed Cain as keynoter in October, a party e-mail blared “CAIN TRAIN STOPS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY FOR LINCOLN DAY.” But a county GOP e-mail last Thursday merely listed Cain as one of seven “invited keynote speakers” for the dinner.

“It had become clear to us before he officially dropped out that he had lost the viability that we need to have a successful Lincoln Day,” Dinerstein said. “We’ve been working on Plans B, C, D and E for more than a week.”

Plan B is to book another presidential candidate, said Dinerstein, who wouldn’t discuss plans further down the alphabet.

“We still want to take advantage of the fact that it’s three days before the primary,” Dinerstein said.

He said about 140 tickets have sold so far for the dinner at the Kravis Center. The GOP hopes to draw more than 700; it got about 600 for the February 2011 dinner with Newt Gingrich.

Appreciate Western civilization? Thank Allen West, says county GOP chairman

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein, who has never been known for understatement, was particularly effusive tonight in his praise of U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.

“He may all by himself just have saved Western civilization,” Dinerstein said when he introduced West at a Republican Executive Committee meeting in West Palm Beach.

Dinerstein said West’s decision to go against many in the tea party and support a debt ceiling compromise assured its passage in the Republican-controlled House and spared the GOP any blame for a federal default or government shutdown.

“The first nationally recognized House figure that publicly said ‘I’m in’ was Congressman Allen West. And that was not just one vote, because Allen is the de facto leader of the freshman Republicans in Washington. And that allowed every one of them to go to their constituency and say ‘Guys, Allen West is in. This is a deal that we can live with.’ “

If the deal had failed in the House and any havoc had ensued, Dinerstein said, “it would have been on us. And ‘on us’ means the country would say ‘We don’t trust you to run the country in November 2012.’”

A glimpse into the GOP’s internal rift over illegal immigration

Monday, June 27th, 2011 by George Bennett

Dinerstein

Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein weighs in on The Palm Beach Post’s opinion page today with a column that highlights the the GOP’s internal division on illegal immigration.

Dinerstein laments the GOP-controlled Florida legislature’s failure to pass an “E-Verify” bill requiring businesses to use a federal database to check on in the immigration status of workers. While Dinerstein is part of a large contingent of Republicans who favor E-Verify as a way to crack down on illegal immigrants, others in the party view the system as a government intrusion that raises costs and enlists businesses as immigration police.

The latter sentiment had enough supporters among Republican legislators to thwart the bill Dinerstein and other Republicans favored. Says Dinerstein: “From my vantage point as a Republican Party official I can truly say that our recent performance in Tallahassee on this issue did not make me proud.”

Click here to read Dinerstein’s column.

Term limits tussle: GOP chairman says Marcus should ‘move on’ in 2012

Monday, March 7th, 2011 by George Bennett

Marcus

Even if the courts throw out Palm Beach County’s term limits law for county commissioners, local GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein says his party’s longest-serving local official, Commissioner Karen Marcus, shouldn’t run again in 2012 because voters overwhelmingly supported term limits in a 2002 referendum.

Marcus, who’s in her seventh term, opposes term limits but says she hasn’t decided whether she’d run in 2012 if she’s allowed.

Dinerstein

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

More than 70 percent of county voters approved a two-term limit for commissioners in a 2002 referendum. No one has challenged the Palm Beach County law, but a challenge to a similar term limits law in Broward County could lead to Palm Beach County’s law being thrown out, as the Politics column reported back in November.

Conservative brawler Furnari resigns from county GOP for Internet venture with BIZPAC’s Smith

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 by George Bennett

Furnari

Sharp-elbowed Boca Raton conservative operative Jack Furnari has resigned from the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee to join with Business Political Action Committee Chairman John R. Smith in launching a for-profit conservative news website called BizPacReview.com.

Smith

Smith is also stepping down from his non-voting role on the county GOP’s board of directors.

The pair say they are severing their formal GOP ties so they’ll have the editorial independence to criticize Republicans who fall short of their conservative standards.

(more…)

Mark Foley slowly coming back into GOP fold

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 by George Bennett

Foley

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley held pariah status with many in the GOP after he abruptly resigned in 2006 over sexually charged e-mails to male congressional pages. Many Republicans said Foley’s disgrace a few weeks before the midterm elections helped Democrats take control of the House and the Senate from the GOP that year.

But Foley — who launched a talk radio show last year and recently flirted with entering the nonpartisan mayor’s race in West Palm Beach — is slowly regaining acceptance among Republicans.

Foley was on the host committee last year for a fund-raiser for Republican Sharon Merchant’s failed state Senate bid. He spoke to a Palm Beach County Young Republicans meeting last week and introduced new U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, at the grand opening of West’s district office in West Palm Beach Tuesday.

Foley’s speech to the YRs was his first public appearance at a Republican event since his resignation.

(more…)

Republican Party of Florida to elect leader this morning

Saturday, January 15th, 2011 by George Bennett

LAKE BUENA VISTA — For Republicans, it’s arguably the most important state chairman’s job in the nation.

The Republican Party of Florida will elect a chairman this morning. The winner will head the GOP in America’s largest competitive state during the 2012 presidential election, once-in-a-decade redistricting and the GOP national convention in Tampa.

Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein is one of five announced candidates. The others are Jefferson County Republican Committeeman Dave Bitner, Hillsborough County GOP Chairwoman Deborah Cox-Roush, Pinellas County GOP Committeeman Tony DiMatteo and Sarasota County Republican Chairman Joe Gruters.

After a polite candidates forum Friday night, about 250 party activists are eligible to vote this morning. Balloting begins at 9 a.m. If no candidate gets a majority on the first ballot, the top two will face each other in a runoff.

Follow PostOnPolitcs.com for results

Payback? E-mail blasting Dinerstein reprises criticism from county GOP chairman race

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 by George Bennett

Dinerstein

Most of the anonymous trashing in the Republican Party of Florida’s five-candidate race for chairman has focused on presumed frontrunners Deborah Cox-Roush of Hillsborough County and Dave Bitner of Jefferson County.

But as Saturday’s vote looms in Lake Buena Vista, Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein has also been targeted in an e-mail from “bocagop” that reprises many of the same criticisms Ed Lynch raised in his unsuccessful challenge of Dinerstein for county chairman last month.

Lynch, who lost a 120-to-87 vote at the Dec. 8 county GOP meeting, denied knowledge of the e-mail, but said, “there’s a lot of people that are not happy with what they (Dinerstein and conservative operative and Dinerstein ally Jack Furnari) did. It’s not just me that has an issue with what they did.”

The Dinerstein-Lynch contest featured a Furnari-produced mailer showing a picture of Lynch over a photo of dead bodies from the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide and Lynch’s invocation of the barbecue-sauce defense after Furnari posted pictures of Lynch in a T-shirt touting a Democratic candidate.

(more…)

Sid Dinerstein’s 7-point ethics plan for Florida GOP

Saturday, January 8th, 2011 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein, one of five announced candidates for next Saturday’s Republican Party of Florida chairman election, has sent the following mailer to the approximately 250 party bigs who will vote:

In case the type is too small, a larger version of the text is included after the jump….

(more…)

No clear favorite in race for state GOP chairman

Sunday, December 12th, 2010 by George Bennett

ORLANDO — Palm Beach County’s Sid Dinerstein and four rivals for Republican Party of Florida chairman made their pitches this weekend at a state GOP quarterly meeting near Walt Disney World.

The vote is Jan. 15. There’s some speculation other candidates could get in, although one of the most buzzed about — Republican National Committee Secretary Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale — ruled herself out Saturday. Gov.-elect Rick Scott gets to appoint 10 of the 257 eligible voters. Scott interviewed all five candidates Friday, but hasn’t announced a favorite.

Click here to read about Dinerstein and the other candidates.

Attack mailer includes Jonestown mass-suicide backdrop in county GOP chairman’s race

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 by George Bennett

Mailer by Republican activist Jack Furnari likens potential election of Ed Lynch as GOP chairman to 1978 mass suicide by cyanide-laced Kool-Aid in Jonestown, Guyana.

About 230 members of the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee should be getting mailers today from GOP activist Jack Furnari that show chairman candidate Ed Lynch’s photo against a background of dead bodies from the 1978 Jonestown mass cult suicide.

“Don’t Drink Ed Lynch’s Kool-Aid!” say the mailer, which says a vote for Lynch over incumbent Chairman Sid Dinerstein is “a vote to destroy the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.”

Furnari includes his name on the mailer, which he says he sent on his own.

“I think ‘Don’t drink the Kool-Aid’ is a common expression in politics,” Furnari said of the content.

The election for county GOP chairman is Wednesday night.

GOP chair hopeful Lynch says he’s no Democratic guitar hero; asserts barbecue sauce defense for Dem shirt

Monday, December 6th, 2010 by George Bennett

GOP chair hopeful Ed Lynch (left, with guitar) says he was doing a sound check -- not performing -- when he appeared in 2008 with Democratic state House candidate (now state Rep.) Joseph Abruzzo and former Democratic state Sen. Dave Aronberg.

In his bid for Palm Beach County GOP chairman, two-time congressional candidate Ed Lynch is mounting a more-Republican-than-thou challenge of incumbent Sid Dinerstein. Among other things, he has ripped Dinerstein for allowing BIZPAC Chairman John R. Smith to be a non-voting member on the county GOP executive board when Smith contributed to Democratic state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo.

So Dinerstein supporter Jack Furnari is making hay of photos from 2008 that show Lynch wielding a guitar at a joint event for Democrats Abruzzo and former state Sen. Dave Aronberg. Lynch is wearing a “Team Aronberg” T-shirt in the pics, which conservative activist Furnari posted today on his blog.

Lynch says he donned Aronberg T-shirt after barbecue sauce mishap.

Lynch today called the guitar issue a sign his opponents are “desperate.”

Lynch says he merely loaned his sound system to a friend who played at the event. He says he picked up the guitar, which he says wasn’t his, to do a sound check and didn’t actually perform. Abruzzo said he thinks he remembers Lynch playing at the event, but can’t be absolutely sure. He said he remembers feeling a little uncomfortable about it because he supported Lynch’s opponent at the time, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler. Aronberg said he wasn’t 100 percent certain either, but thinks Lynch’s sound-check story is “probably right.”

And that Aronberg T-shirt? Lynch said he spilled barbecue sauce on his own shirt and donned the Democratic garment as an emergency substitute.

Dinerstein’s e-mail response to Lynch in county GOP chairman’s race

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 by George Bennett

Dinerstein

Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein, seeking reelection next week, sent an e-mail to Republican Executive Committee members that doesn’t name challenger Ed Lynch, but calls his rival a “Ron Klein Republican” and a “lifelong Democrat,” a reference to the fact Lynch was registered as a Democrat from 2000 to 2004.

Lynch

Lynch launched his candidacy Thursday with a lengthy e-mail blasting Dinerstein.

The county race has particularly high stakes for Dinerstein. He wants to become Republican Party of Florida chairman, but won’t be eligible if he loses his county post.

Read Dinerstein’s e-mail after the jump….

(more…)

Former congressional candidate Ed Lynch to challenge Dinerstein for county GOP chairman

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 by George Bennett

Two-time congressional candidate Ed Lynch announced he’ll challenge four-term incumbent Sid Dinerstein next week in the race for county GOP chairman.

In an e-mail sent to Republican Executive Committee members (read it after the jump), Lynch suggests Dinerstein is more interested in self-promotion and higher office than electing Republicans locally. Dinerstein wants to be Republican Party of Florida chairman. To be eligible for the state job, he must win reelection to his county chairman’s post next Wednesday.

Lynch lost to former Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler in 2008, then lost to Democrat Ted Deutch in a special election this year to replace Wexler.

Dinerstein said most of the accusations in Lynch’s e-mail aren’t true and “he knows that. He doesn’t care. We’ll have an election.”

(more…)

Dinerstein in state GOP chairman flap: ‘I did not do that mailer!!!’

Saturday, November 13th, 2010 by George Bennett

This anonymous mailer compares Palm Beach County's Sid Dinerstein's political giving to that of his rivals for state GOP chairman.

Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein, who’s interest in becoming Republican Party of Florida chairman was first reported here, officially launched his campaign Friday and by today was issuing his first all-capital-letter denial, saying he’s not behind anonymous mailers to GOP voters that suggest he’s a better donor and money-raiser than three of his rivals.

Dinerstein

The mail piece was first reported on by Saint Petersblog. Dinerstein sent out an e-mail this afternoon saying “I DID NOT DO THAT MAILER!!!”

He told PostOnPolitics.com he has no idea who sent out the mailer, but “I don’t think it was meant to promote me. I think it was meant to hurt one or two of the others.”

About 250 Republican leaders are eligible to vote in the January race for state chairman.

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