Local GOP splintered


There is no organized local Republican Party – yes. the women meet, but they don’t have much say in who runs or doesn’t run for local offices.

The negative side of the House District 3 primary has upset the Scarborough camp which has successfully backed such winners as Esc. Co. School Superintendent Jim Paul, Sheriff Ron McNesby and Election Supervisor David Stafford.

Clay Ford’s campaign went negative the weekend before the election – sending a mailer that wrapped George in the mantle of his parent’s beauty pageant business (which he has helped manage over the years) and his brother’s 2001 resignation from Congress. Polls had Scarborough ahead until then- the negative mailer worked to erode Scarborough’s support in Escambia County.

The other thing that hurt Scarborough was the Banjanin campaign – weakening GS support in the Cordova Park, East Pensacola areas.

Rumors are flying everywhere about the mailer and the TomKat campaign.

Many credit Lois Benson – who Joe Scarborough defeated for Congress back in 1994 – as the architect of the mailer. LB was appointed to the ECUA board when George Watson suddenly resigned. It was her daughter’s seat that everyone was vying for…a seat which Holly Benson also suddenly resigned from. In Pensacola, pots like to call kettles black.

Some are claiming that state Rep. Dave Murzin and state Sen. Durell Peaden pushed Banjanin to run because they want Murzin to run for Peaden’s seat when he terms out. Murzin has denied any involvement.

The rumors and feuds make good melodrama, but I don’t think it will hurt Clay Ford in the general election. Money follows winners. Many who gave GS money will also give money to Ford. GOP voters aren’t going to switch to Campbell – however, the most ardent Scarborough backers may stay home.

Ford runs again in 2008. Peaden’s seat is open in 2008. Let’s see what happens then..

Later Note: Got a note from Dave Murzin. Though Peaden was first elected in 2000, his current term doesn’t expire until 2010 – which gives plenty time for GOP tempers to cool. Murzin states that he stayed  neutral on the House District 3 primary at the request of Speaker Designate Ray Sansom.