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Bitner To Lead State GOP

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Former state legislator David Bitner has been elected the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.  (Source: Republican Party of Florida)

Former state legislator David Bitner has been elected the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. (Source: Republican Party of Florida)

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LAKE BUENA VISTA (CBS4) – Former state representative Dave Bitner will take over the reigns of the Republican Party of Florida.

Bitner, 61, beat vice party chair Deborah Cox-Roush in a close runoff vote after failing to get a majority in the first vote which included five candidates.

Bitner, 61, served in the state House from 1992 to 2000, representing Port Charlotte. He is a former owner of the Charlotte Sun-Herald and now lives in Monticello near Tallahassee.

After the results of the runoff vote were announced Bitner thanked the crowd and pumped up activists for the next election.

“We are taking our country back. There is unity here,” Bitner said. “Bill Nelson is out.”

That was a sentiment repeated by several speakers at the state GOP meeting, in Lake Buena Vista where Gov. Rick Scott addressed the group for the first time since taking office this month.

“Hold us accountable, stay really active, write the letters and let everybody know you support our causes,” Scott told the group. “I’m going to do everything I can to make you proud, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this is the best Republican Party in all 50 states.”

Bitner will take over the top spot from Sen. John Thrasher who replaced Jim Greer who resigned amid allegations he misused party money. Greer was later indicted on felony grand theft, money laundering and fraud charges.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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