April 22nd, 2010
11:53 AM ET
5 years ago

'Party Loyalty Oath' would prevent Republicans from backing Crist

The Republican Party of Florida has told its members that they will be forbidden from supporting Gov. Charlie Crist if he decides to run as an independent.
The Republican Party of Florida has told its members that they will be forbidden from supporting Gov. Charlie Crist if he decides to run as an independent.

(CNN) – The Republican Party of Florida has told its members that they will be forbidden from supporting Gov. Charlie Crist if he decides to run as an independent.

In an internal memorandum issued Thursday and provided to CNN, RPOF General Counsel Jason Gonzalez concluded that the "Party Loyalty Oath," Rule 9 of the party's bylaws, would forbid executive committee members from providing "active, public or financial support" to any candidate other than the one with "Republican" next to his or her name on the ballot.

That would rule out Crist, who, if he abandons the GOP primary, would run with no party affiliation - an "NPA" candidate. Crist's GOP primary opponent, former House speaker Marco Rubio, is consolidating Republican support as Crist, trailing badly in the primary, plots his next move.

"Any member who fails to formally revoke his or her public support and request the return of any contributions made to a candidate running against the candidate of the Republican Party would be in violation of the RPOF Rules and would be subject to removal from party office and membership on Republican executive committees," Gonzalez wrote in the memo to RPOF Executive Director Ronnie Whitaker.

Whitaker distributed the memo on Thursday after executive committee members reached out to him with questions about a potential independent bid by Crist. He said he had asked Gonzalez to provide guidance on Rule 9 after their inquiries.

The Loyalty Oath applies to the 30 appointed members of the State Republican Executive Committee on down to members of the state's 67 County Executive Committees and precinct committee members - a substantial chunk of party activists in the state.

The ruling also applies to Florida's Republican members of Congress and Sen. George LeMieux, along with Florida's members on the Republican National Committee and six GOP statewide officeholders - all of whom are included on the State Republican Executive Committee.

"The requirement of party loyalty is appropriate given the leadership roles within the party performed by executive committee members," wrote Gonzalez, formerly general counsel to the governor's office.


Filed under: Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. S Callahan

    Do you get the feeling that meida is again trying to dictate the fate of a party? .....
    Crist need not fear...God will use him as he deems...he is not a dead duck in politics....you'll see.

    April 22, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Joel Miller

    COULD THE FLORIDA REPUBLICAN PARTY BE SOCIALIST? This is what the THE BOLSHEVIKS called Democratic Centralism. You supposedly had the right to disagree within the confines of the Party, but when you had to back all policies finally agreed upon by the majority.

    April 22, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Purity Tests

    I guess that means they can only support a Democrat then.

    April 22, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Party Loyalty Oath -aka- P.L.O.

    The republicans are a bunch of terrorists.

    April 22, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. evman

    The Republican right wing extremists are hijacking the Republican Party. They'll kill themselves off, no great loss.

    But "forbidding" it's members from doing something sounds like their Nazi's or Communists. How ironic...

    April 22, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. John

    Whatever happened to supporting whom ever is best for the state. I guess if Crist goes, he won't be the only one leaving the Florida Republican Party.

    April 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    'Party loyalty oath' ?? Wow. Scary. Wouldnt it be better to have your party members promise to act according to their conscience? Or to do what's best for the people they represent?

    Dont these politicians swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution? What if what they feel is defending the constitution is in conflict with party lines? Which oath wins?

    The simple fact is that ANY person who would let party directives trump their own good conscience does not deserve any public office greater than 'associate dogcatcher'.

    April 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. wiliam

    Look at the gop imploding on itself .if charlie was a smart man he would defect from all those self centered idiots.look at them,they will turn on each other like a big of crabs

    April 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. al in memphis

    I guess the oath should read -

    If the GOPparty by majority decision decides that the local village idiot is the name GOP party representative, then all GOP member in good standing wherein shall blindly forsake their duty as responsible citizen of said state and cast their vote for duly poplar village idiot.

    April 22, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    democrats and independents of Florida!

    Send a message to Dick Cheney and the GOP! Change your stated party affiliation to Republican and vote for Crist in the primary!

    April 22, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Sissy

    This is why I can't stand the GOP and will never vote for one of them......if you don't think the way they think or believe what they believe in you can't be in their Party......they can't think for themselves, they can't vote the way the American people want them to vote they have to vote the way their Party By Laws tell them to vote.......

    April 22, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. TB

    Kinda sounds like the Cosa Nostra.

    April 22, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. r

    The party requires all to be loyal against all outside forces. Are they really representing americans? Sounds like something written by Himmler.

    April 22, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. ctex

    "Any member who fails to formally revoke his or her public support and request the return of any contributions made to a candidate running against the candidate of the Republican Party would be in violation of the RPOF Rules and would be subject to removal from party office and membership on Republican executive committees," Gonzales wrote in the memo to RPOF Executive Director Ronnie Whitaker.

    So if Florida's Republican senator or any of its Republican representatives support Crist, the party is going to cut them off? I thought in "America" we were free to support the candidate we thought best for the office. Democrats are less organized, but simply because they have some semblence of dissent within their ranks makes me I trust them more. Not much more, but still more.

    April 22, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Brian

    This article tells us everything we need to know about our political system, Party First.

    We should not be forced to support somebody just because of a party affiliation. That is a problem. You look at the big decisions of the Bush administration, if those same choices had been made by a Democrat (outing a CIA agent, lying and taking us to war in Iraq, a Medicare D law that does not allow the Government to negotiate drug prices) I think we all know how Rush and Cheney would have responded, but because a Republican made those bad and irresponsible choices they supported them.

    Until we put party last and start making decisions and vote on ideas, history of the individual, and policy we will continue to have a broken political system and a polarized electorate.

    People we need to vote our conscience and identify an individual, not solely on party-lines, for the party’ interest is its own survival and could care less about individual human beings.

    April 22, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Truth Teller

    Run Christ, run!! That would split the republican vote and insure a democratic win.

    April 22, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Ben in Texas

    If you are an official Repugnant in Florida, and probably everywhere, you voluntarily give up your right to support the candidate of your choice. What a bunch of blind followers.

    I suppose if they dug up Eichmann and ran him for Senator in Florida that all the Repugs would vote for him, too. Come to think of it, that's sort of what they did with Rubio's candidacy.

    April 22, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Tori in Texas

    The Republican Party of Florida has told its members that they will be forbidden from supporting Gov. Charlie Crist if he decides to run as an independent.

    Forbidden? Excuse me? This is America. A person can support whoever they want regardless if their idiotic "loyalty oath". The voting booth is also private. I hope all the lemmings in the R party quietly donate to and vote for Crist, just to spite these haters and their moronic political directives.

    These Republican clowns sound more and more like 1930's Germany every day. And they call Libs fascist? Please.

    April 22, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. a health economist

    I am an independent that was completely sickened by the Republicans in 2008 and chose to vote for zero republicans. I saw no hope in the Republicans changing their ways that would allow me to vote for a Republican and feel good about myself. I now have that opportunity because of their 'purity' test. The only Republicans I would vote for would be one that fails the 'purity' test.

    April 22, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Tanja

    I'm sorry....but what happened to the "Freedom" these Republicans keep screaming about loosing????

    They don't even have the freedom to vote for who they wish!!!

    So the Republicans are not only the "Party of No" they are the "Party of the Controlled Vote"!!!

    April 22, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Tom from Canonsburg

    This is exactly why the GOP needs to re-evaluated as a party. They DO NOT want people who can think for themselves to run for office. They want only politicians who will toe the line. It's one way of thinking, the party's way. My understanding of American democracy is that the voters and politicians are supposed to make up their own minds about decisions. Politicians are supposed to consider what is in the best interest their district. The Dems at least come much closer than the GOP in this respect. I remember a vote in the 90's in particular where a Oregan senator voted with the Dems on a bill & R. Santorum the senator from Pennsylvania was screaming in the hallways from the GOP to kick him out of the party. We need more politicians like Crist and Spector that are willing to vote for the people.

    April 22, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. independent

    I thought the religious right believed in "Taking no oaths"?
    This FL oath doesn't sound as biblical as I thought the right was.

    April 22, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Ahmed

    This party oath smacks of Taliban-like politics.

    April 22, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Independant Thinker

    This from the party of "Personal Freedom."

    Sounds a lot like: "Das ist verboten, Mein Herr!"

    disgusting.......

    April 22, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Independent in NY

    Reminds me of Gemany in 1938

    April 22, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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