Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Brown, Bunting win state committeeman posts
Posted Aug 14, 2012 by William March
Updated Aug 14, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Bill “Hoe” Brown unseated A.J. Matthews in Hillsborough County, and Bill Bunting turned back a challenge from Steve Simon in Pasco County, in races for local Republican Party state committeeman posts in Tuesday’s election.
Bunting, a gun rights activist, has held leading positions in the Pasco GOP for several years. But with an occasionally abrasive style and hard-line conservative political views, he has made some enemies in the GOP, including Simon ally state Sen. Mike Fasano. He has also incurred the enmity of state NRA leader Marion Hammer—in part because the two compete for political influence among gun rights activists statewide.
Hammer endorsed Simon against Bunting, but Bunting prevailed by 16,029 to 13,174, or 55-45 percent, on the GOP primary ballot Tuesday.
Brown, a Tampa real estate developer and GOP fundraiser, unseated Matthews, a former Tampa police officer and National Guardsman, by 14,700 votes (33 percent) to 11,064 (25 percent), with Travis Horne getting 10,085 (23 percent) and Paul Fosse 8,224 (19 percent).
Matthews is a long-time activist and member of the inner circle in the Hillsborough County GOP; Brown, who’s been active as a Romney backer in this year’s presidential race, promised new blood and a fresh approach.
The post of state committeeman is one of three delegates from a county Republican Party to the governing board of the state party, the other two being a state committeewoman and county chairman.