Generally speaking, so-called Republicans who openly endorse Democrats over their fellow party members aren’t offered positions of power in the GOP. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Palm Beach County.
Former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Al Zucaro was recently appointed treasurer of the Boca Raton Republican Club, despite having endorsed Democrat Tom Gustafson over incumbent Republican state Rep. Bill Hager in District 89 in November.
In a rambling Oct. 5 op-ed for the penny saver-like Boca Raton Tribune, Zucaro gave the middle finger to his own party in an endorsement that said, “Like a salmon swimming up stream, this writer believes that Tom Gustafson is the better candidate to represent our interests.”
“This is the first time I’m hearing about this,” said Ira Sabin, the newly elected chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. “I had no idea Al has been endorsing Democrats.”
Not too many people read the Boca Raton Tribune, and even fewer read anything a blowhard like Zucaro has to say. So it’s entirely possible the new leaders of the local GOP didn’t know of Zucaro’s most recent betrayal.
Frankly, no one would care at all about anything Zucaro has to say had he not married wealthy Republican widow Yvonne Boice a few years ago. Boice is no stranger to endorsing Democrats in contested races herself. She is close friends with former Democratic County Commissioner Burt Aaronson and endorsed him over Republican Charlotte Beasley in 2008.
The Palm Beach Post’s Jane Musgrave has written extensively about some of Zucaro’s other problems in “Former city commissioner and mayoral wannabe Al Zucaro ordered to pay $406,000” and “Legal problems mount for ex-West Palm commissioner Zucaro.”
A lot of people thought Gustafson, a former Democratic speaker of the Florida House, would beat Hager. I’m sure Zucaro did, too. But Hager trounced him by a respectable margin.
Zucaro has been looking for a title to call his own for years now, and he’s been making a lot of noise about running for the Boca Raton City Council. Playing both sides can be a very effective strategy in a local municipal race, but it’s generally frowned upon by both major political parties, and it’s usually a disqualifier for party positions.
The local GOP has enough problems to tackle without adding the title-grubbing opportunist Zucaro to the list.
Zucaro’s endorsement of Gustafson: Popularity Contest or Substantive Debate….