EDITOR’S NOTE: In the next couple of weeks, we at Reaganista.com will be analyzing races across Florida and endorsing candidates whom we believe will fight to advance the cause of conservatism. Because the number of races this August and November are overwhelming, we will not be endorsing in all of them, but rather will chime-in on those that we believe a lot is at stake. These may include local, state, federal and even internal Republican Party races.
Every four years, the Republican Party of Florida elects a new governing body known as the state committee. in addition to some at-large members chosen by statewide elected officials, the Republican State Committee is comprised of three representatives from each of the state’s 67 counties: state committeeman, state committeewoman, and county party chairman.
My first two endorsements for the Republican Party of Florida State Committee are from my original home county of Miami-Dade and my current home county of León:
The race for GOP State Committeeman in León County pits incumbent Jeff Howell against longtime activist Bert Bevis. Both men are decent Republicans with the party’s best interests at heart. However, in the past four years, I have come to know current State Committeeman Jeff Howell personally as a man committed to not only growing the Republican Party, but most importantly (to me, at least) advancing the cause of conservatism from within the party itself.
My first encounter with Jeff Howell was as a visitor to the León County Republican Executive Committee in 2009 when the committee was considering a resolution that protested efforts by the state GOP to pick sides in a primary. Specifically, this was in response to Charlie Crist’s handpicked state party chairman Jim Greer’s failed attempt to waive party rules to formally endorse Crist and undermine then-underdog candidate Marco Rubio.
On that day, Howell gave an impassioned and well articulated speech promoting the idea that the local party be on record as expressing its dissatisfaction with the shenanigans going on at the state party. He maintained that it was just plain wrong for Greer to use Republican Party resources to undermine the candidacy of a viable, respected conservative candidate like Marco Rubio against a detestable little weasel like Crist (okay, Howell didn’t say that about Crist–I did).
The resolution overwhelmingly passed thanks, at least in part, to Howell’s efforts that day.
Since then, I have witnessed him take an active role in the development of the local party, including helping found local Republican clubs, recruiting speakers for party fundraisers, and helping raise money. In 2010 when Jim Greer resigned as state party chairman in disgrace, Howell was tapped by interim chairman and solid conservative senator John Thrasher to lead a new ethics committee to incorporate a new code of ethics into the Republican Party of Florida’s rules. The following year, Howell ran and was overwhelmingly elected treasurer of the State Republican Party.
Howell has remained active in not only the local party, but the state party as well, and has represented us conservatives well on the State Committee and Executive Board. His nearly 30 years of activism include heading the FSU College Republicans during the good old days of the Reagan Administration, leadership positions in the Tallahassee Young Republicans, campaign manager for local Republican candidates, and activism in the local Republican Party as a precinct committee man.
Most importantly, Howell passes the Reaganista Florida Conservative Litmus Test with flying colors: at no time was he a Charlie Crist supporter in his race for Senate in 2010. This is especially noteworthy, given that much of the establishment in Tallahassee, whether out of convenience or fear of political retribution, initially supported Crist in 2010. Howell, true to his conservative convictions did not.
His opponent is a decent, longtime activist, but Jeff Howell’s proven commitment to conservatism and a Republican Party beholden to those principles makes him #ReaganistaCertified.
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