Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOP House Control Threatened

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOP House Control Threatened

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- Republican State Chairman Tom Slade of Orange

Park is steaming about efforts by some GOP legislators to unite

with Democrats and block the election of Rep. Daniel Webster,

R-Orlando, as House speaker.

"This political entrepreneurship on behalf of personal power is

not attractive," Slade said.

Slade said he thought many Democrats would refuse to go along

with the move led by Rep. Luis Rojas, RHialeah, to deny the

speakership to Webster, a Christian conservative.

Rojas has offered himself as a moderate alternative to Webster.

But Slade called Rojas "a relatively unappealing member of the

Legislature to be a leader."

"I'm 100 percent loyal to Danny Webster and anyone who is not

will certainly not be warmly received by the state party," Slade

said.

Slade said he thought Rojas' efforts would collapse because

there were not enough committee chairmanships to hand out to

please everyone who would have to be part of the deal.

"All of this is much to do about nothing, in my opinion," Slade

said. "These fellows have got to go out there and blow their hot

air and next week we're going to go to Tallahassee and elect a

speaker and his name is going to be Danny Webster."

But Rojas, of Hialeah, claimed to have four GOP votes,

including his own, as well as the support of 57 Democrats. If

accurate, that would equal the 61 votes needed to win the

speakership.

He said the only Democratic House members not supporting his

bid were George Crady of Yulee and Bud Bronson of Kissimmee.

Rojas met with Rep. Buzz Ritchie of Pensacola, the leader of

the House Democrats, over the weekend and received his

endorsement.

Slade said Ritchie was just trying to block Webster from the

speakership so he could seize it himself.

The conflict shifted to Spanish-language radio in Miami

yesterday where popular call-in shows buzzed with listeners

urging Cuban-American legislators to support Rojas. …

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