On Tuesday, two grassroots, conservative republicans were re-elected to their seats on the Republican Party Executive Committee. This was despite overwhelming opposition to both in an obvious effort to remove non-establishment types from the party. Dan Tucker was re-elected to his seat as a Republican State Committeeman representing Pinellas Republicans. Tucker overcame over $44,000 in contributions to opponent J.J. Beyrouti. He withstood two county-wide mailings in favor of Beyrouti with endorsements of nearly every Pinellas Republican elected official possible. Tucker still won with over 60% of the vote.
McKalip (yours truly and founder/editor of this blog) overwhelmingly won with a vote count that matched that of three of the opponents combined. McKalip will remain in one of the five seats, with the sixth candidate Doug Myhre losing by two votes to young newcomer Ryan Lettelier (the 19 year old nephew of Political consultant and establishment party insider Matt Lettellier). McKalip withstood a mailer full of lies that was smearing his reputation and was sent without a disclaimer. The mailer had all the hallmarks of old-guard attack pieces launched by the types of Jack Latvalla in the past. However, it will be difficult to make the link officially. Of the total 396 votes in precinct 140, McKalip earned 178, with the 2nd through 4th place finishers combining for 178 and 5th place Ryan lettellier garnering 21 votes. While the intent of creating a race was clearly to launch an “anyone but McKalip” campaign at the last minute (as was done in the smear-mailer), the stategy obviously backfired. McKalip now has a clear mandate to work within the PCREC (Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee) to continue to push them to stand up for issues in public like tax cuts. This mandate for the Republicans party to publically call elected republicans to cut taxes obviously overcomes the complaints of party insiders that it would “cause problems” for those elected republicans when they actually keep raising taxes.
Dr. McKalip offers the following: ” I am incredibly grateful for the support of the republican voters in Precinct 140 and will make sure that I continue to act on their obvious wish that elected republicans actually act like republicans while in office. I also am very grateful to the many friend and supporters who helped me win such a convincing victory in the precinct. I am hopeful that this will create a new day for Republicans in our county – one where we no longer fear to stand up for basic republican values like smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, more freedom and protection of the US Constitution.”
Now, BACK TO REGULAR PROGRAMMING!