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Lenny Curry, potential Jacksonville mayoral candidate, will announce Thursday he is stepping down as Florida GOP chair

Move comes three days after Peter Rummell, GOP fundraiser and One Spark driver, threw his support behind Curry for mayor

Posted: April 30, 2014 - 6:25pm  |  Updated: April 30, 2014 - 7:15pm
Lenny Curry
Lenny Curry

Lenny Curry, who is considering a run for Jacksonville mayor, will announce he is stepping down as chairman of the Florida Republican Party on Thursday, according to party officials with knowledge of the situation.

He will send a letter to Republican Party leadership Thursday, officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity since Curry hasn’t given his formal notice to party leaders.

Curry will stay on as chair through the end of May. He would not comment for the story Wednesday evening.

The move comes on the heels of a high-profile and potentially significant pickup for Curry. Peter Rummell, a powerful Northeast Florida Republican fundraiser, told the Times-Union last week he will throw his support behind the GOP chairman in the 2015 mayor’s race.

Rummell supported Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown in his surprising 2011 victory over Republican opponent Mike Hogan — who Rummell and other downtown business leaders considered too conservative and out of touch with downtown’s needs. Rummell’s $150,000 donation and influence are thought to have played a major role in Brown’s narrow victory.

“Peter is a man who has made an unparalleled commitment to seeing Jacksonville achieve great things. His support and confidence in my abilities as a leader are humbling,” Curry said in a statement to the Times-Union last week. “I look forward to soon sharing my vision for how I can serve our community.”

Rummell, a former Disney and St. Joe Co. executive and a major force behind Jacksonville’s One Spark festival, said his disappointment in Brown’s first-term leadership and faith that Curry would be a politically courageous and capable leader swayed his decision to publicly endorse Curry.

University of North Florida political science professor Matt Corrigan said stepping down as party chairman makes sense if Curry is planning a mayoral run. The November race for Florida governor will be among the most high-profile and hotly contested in the country.

Curry likely wouldn’t have the time as a mayoral candidate to manage the state party, Corrigan said. And with the outcome of the governor’s race “far from certain,” Curry wouldn’t want to be the head of the party if Gov. Rick Scott fails to win re-election.

“That doesn’t help your bid to become Jacksonville’s mayor,” he said.

Curry, co-founder of Jacksonville-based ICX Group Inc. and former chairman of the Duval County GOP, succeeded David Bitner as the state chairman in 2011.

The state’s Republican Executive Committee will elect a replacement for Curry at the end of May.

City Councilman Bill Bishop and Omega Allen, both Republicans, and Tiffany Wingo, a member of the Independence Party of Florida, have filed to run for mayor.

Nate Monroe: (904) 359-4289

Comments (11)

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Judygermaine
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Judygermaine 07/09/14 - 07:12 pm
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Even though I'm a Republican,

Even though I'm a Republican, if Lenny Curry is a member of the anti-Gay FBC, I will NEVER vote for him.

Cowford Express
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Cowford Express 05/01/14 - 01:46 pm
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Premium Member

The only winner here seems to

The only winner here seems to be the FL GOP.

Crash
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Crash 05/01/14 - 01:14 pm
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Premium Member

Lenny Curry has never been

Lenny Curry has never been elected to any position. He is a political appointment with no credible background. What experience does he bring to the table? He couldn't lead the Republican Party into a unified party, what makes him think he can lead Jacksonville? Do the GOP a favor and stay out of it Lenny!

Noillusions
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Noillusions 05/01/14 - 09:02 am
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Lenny Who? Just another good

Lenny Who?

Just another good ole boy puppet.

saltmarsh cracker
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saltmarsh cracker 04/30/14 - 09:45 pm
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I'm supporting Brown because

I'm supporting Brown because The Jags owner is supporting Brown and I think the Jags owner is a visionary.

We need a visionary in the mayor's office.

Delaney and Godbold were…Peyton was not.

Fortunately, we have not had a corrupt mayor since consolidation.

Hooray for us.

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