By Anthony Man
December 6, 2010 09:52 PM
Updated at 10:03 p.m.
A divided Broward Republican Party voted Monday night to elect Richard DeNapoli to a two-year term as party chairman.
DeNapoli, 33, is president of the Republican Club of Greater Hollywood and served since May as treasurer of the county party.
He’s a lawyer who works as a trust officer at private bank.
The usually orderly and businesslike Republicans were as contentious as their Democratic counterparts when they gathered Monday to elect their new chairman.
The election required two ballots. DeNapoli won 129 votes. Former Davie Mayor Tom Truex won 125 votes.
The first round of voting, which ended without a winner, ended at about 9 p.m. – two hours after the party election meeting started.
Before the second round of voting, the gathering of some 300 Republicans – most of whom were committeemen and committeewomen eligible to vote for party officers – the gathering was reduced to squabbling over the number of ballots cast and the number of eligible voters.
One woman shouted from the audience, sarcastically wondering if the liberal activist group ACORN – which is despised by Republicans – was involved in the party’s internal voting.
Before that, the four candidates for chairman called for goodwill toward fellow Republicans and unity.
Above, DeNapoli at a candidates forum a week before the chairman’s election.
On the first ballot, DeNapoli received 139 votes and Truex received 78 votes.
Before the squabbling that preceeded the second round of voting Jay Narang, who got 45 votes, and Gary Robinson, who got 14 votes, both endorsed Truex.
Narang, of Pembroke Pines, is president of the Southwest Broward Republican Organization. Robinson, of Coral Springs, is president of the Tamarac/Margate/Coconut Creek Republican Club
DeNapoli’s pitch for votes included a plea for Republicans “to focus on what unites us, not what divides us…. I’d rather take the fight to the Democrats, not each other.”
DeNapoli touted his experience raising money for the party, his work for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration, and founding of the Hollywood club. He offered an eight point plan for beefing up the party organization.
Truex described himself as a small business owner, NRA member and Sunday school teacher.
He said he wanted to “completely rebuild the Broward Republican Party.”
The plans offered by DeNapoli and the other candidates are fine, he said, but the party’s most important priority should be electing Republicans to local offices in Broward County.
Truex said that wouldn’t benefit him. If elected, he pledged not to run for a political office himself.
The four candidates were competing for a job that involves long hours, requires extensive fundraising efforts, and comes with a lot of criticism. And it’s unpaid.
The party chairman is the leading public face of Republicans in Broward and has a voice in governing the state Republican Party. The chairmanship has also been a stepping stone in the last decade or so for leaders who have gone on to other political offices.
Democrats don’t have a contest this year. Broward Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar was elected in December 2008 to a four-year term. Republican chairmen hold two-year terms.
The four-candidate Republican field is unusual. For most of the last decade, the chairman contests have been sedate affairs, with just one candidate.