Paul Paulson leads all challengers in the crowded Orange County GOP Committeeman’s race.
By Jacob Engels
The August 30th Republican primary ballot includes a post that is little known outside of party circles, the post of Republican State Committeeman & Committeewoman.
All registered Republican voters can vote on these “down ballot” positions, but they pack a big wallop within the Republican Party.
If you are elected to one of these posts, you sit on the State Republican Party of Florida committee, which in turn elects all the officers for the state party. Additionally, state committee members select the delegates to the quadrennial GOP national conventions that nominate the Republican candidates for President and Vice President.
The state committee also controls a budget that reaches close to $100 million some years. The positions are usually held by senior Republican leaders who have labored decades for the GOP. The candidates this year provide a contrast in qualifications, Party and candidate donations and longevity in the party process.
The acknowledged front-runner in the race is top Republican leader Paul Paulson, who ran a campaign for Orlando mayor last November that garnered over 90% of the Republican vote in the City of Orlando, helping to galvanize GOP voters who have not participated in local elections in years.
The position of state committeeman was held for years by former Orange County Chairman Rich Crotty, who declined to seek re-election this year. Paulson, who was first elected to the local Republican Executive Committee in the mid-1980’s, has been a longtime contributor to party causes and candidates dating back over thirty years.
Paulson has voted in every election since he became registered to vote.
Contrasting this record of participation are four challengers with only one actively campaigning for the post, Young Republican leader Nick Primrose.
A check of campaign reports find a lack of active participation in donating to candidates and the party by Primrose, who just recently moved into the county.
“I’m hoping to continue in the position that Rich Crotty held for so many years and continue to support the party, both financially and with my experience in party affairs for 40 years,” Paulson stated.
Paulson, a veteran, with Congressman John Mica.
Mr. Paulson is the beneficiary of very high name ID, the milk of successful candidates, having raised and spent over $800,000 on media and direct mail in his recent Mayoral run.
Sources say he has begun placing both large and small signs throughout the county, the only candidate to demonstrate a grassroots following. In the Orange GOP committeewoman’s race, Trump campaign leader Melissa McGee is running a strong campaign against three challengers, parlaying her involvement with hundreds of Trump activists to bolster her grassroots campaign.
McGee filing her paperwork to run for office.
McGee, unlike her opponents, has a bevy of campaign yard signs to back her upstart bid, as well as the strong endorsement of top Trump leader, Randy Ross, who directed the successful local efforts that swept Trump to win 66 out of 67 Florida counties. Paulson, was also an early Trump supporter, unlike many of the other candidates he is facing in the committeeman’s race.
“These positions are critical to the direction of the party and for the changes we need to make to move the party forward by relying more on the positions of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan,” stated Doug Guetzloe, longtime GOP activist and recognized as the state’s leading anti-tax advocate.
Guetzloe, who first joined the local GOP executive committee in 1980, has thrown his considerable grassroots organization, Ax the Tax, behind both Paulson and McGee.
“Paulson and McGee represent the future of the party,” Guetzloe concluded.
The Republican primary will be held on Tuesday, August 30th and you must be registered to vote to participate. The Orange County Supervisor of Elections office will take registrations for the primary until Monday, August 1st at their Kaley street office.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org