Welcome to the Orange County Republican Executive Committee

If you haven’t seen this yet, take a look at the Orlando Sentinel’s blog post about the committee meeting last night.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2008/12/orange-gop-chie.html?cid=142079946#comment-142079946

Orange County GOP chairman Lew Oliver held on to his party post by one vote, with the election ending 122-121 Monday night.

“My new nick name is Landslide Lew,” Oliver joked afterward.

The longtime chairman faced a challenge from Deon Long, who was backed by coalition of disaffected Republicans, namely those who supported U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s failed presidential bid.

One member of the opposing coalition, political consultant Doug Guetzloe, said the result is being contested because two executive committee members voted “present,” denying a majority vote.

“There should have been a run-off but Oliver simply declared himself the winner over our protests,” Guetzloe said in an email. “We will contest the vote in the courts or call for a new vote in a special meeting.”

Long, who backed Mitt Romney in the primary, derided the fact that Oliver presided over years of Democrats vastly outpacing Republicans in registering new party members. Long said Oliver also went too far in pushing party leaders to sign loyalty oaths. Oliver said he had to do it, and it wasn’t his rule.

Oliver blamed an East-West Expressway car crash and conflicting schedules for about 40 or 50 no-shows among his supporters, especially in the northwest and Apopka area.

Oliver had said weeks ago that he would win comfortably, but the final tally was a practical dead heat.

“I’ve got to give them credit, they got their people there,” Oliver said.

Oliver said the vote signaled that he should reach out to those disaffected leaders who didn’t support him, but “I am not going to cater to the more radical wing of the Ron Paul faction.”

Oliver termed many of that group as “kooks” and as “flat traitors” who did little work for local GOP candidates. He said that was the most prolific voting bloc who voted against him.

“But anybody who wants to play team ball, they’re welcome,” Oliver said.

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