Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Duval GOP Chief to Step Aside; Hartley Won't Seek Re-Election, Will Back Councilman Lumb for Position

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Duval GOP Chief to Step Aside; Hartley Won't Seek Re-Election, Will Back Councilman Lumb for Position

Article excerpt

Byline: Nate Monroe

Duval County Republican Party Chairman Rick Hartley will not run for re-election when party members select new officers next week, deciding instead to back the candidacy of Jacksonville City Councilman Robin Lumb for that position, according to a letter Hartley sent to Republican executive committee members Saturday.

Lumb, a long-time Republican activist elected to an at-large council seat in 2011, had planned to run for supervisor of elections. He said Saturday he would put that race aside if he's elected to head the local GOP.

"Robin has demonstrated through his years of service to the party, his work on City Council and his many years of community involvement that he cares deeply about our city, our state and our nation," Hartley wrote to committee members. "Given his broad range of experience, including his understanding of the nuts and bolts of electoral politics, I believe Robin would be an ideal choice to lead our party."

The local GOP will hold elections Dec. 15 to select its officers, who hold two-year terms.

The announcement comes at a potentially critical time for the local party, with a slew of city elections in March that include the race for City Council, sheriff and mayor - in which local and state Republicans are hoping a well-financed challenger can defeat incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown.

The news also caps off a recent spate of unflattering headlines for the party sparked by controversial tweets made by the county GOP's secretary about the unfolding events in Ferguson, Mo.

Lumb said Saturday he has had conversations with Hartley about a possible leadership transition for some time and that the announcement had nothing to do with the recent controversy about party secretary Kim Crenier's twitter comments about Ferguson, which critics said had a racial undertone. …

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