On February 20, 2010, the executive committee of the Republican Party of Florida elected Sen. John Thrasher (R-Jacksonville) party chairman, replacing Jim Greer of Orange County, who was forced to resign over questions about his stewardship of party funds. Sen. Thrasher received 135 votes, Republican National Committeewoman Sharon Day of Broward County received 85 votes, and Mark Cross of Osceola County received two votes.
Sen. Thrasher's election marks the first time in at least several decades that a sitting Florida legislator has been chosen to serve also as state chair of a political party. Senate President Jeff Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) expressed confidence that Sen. Thrasher would be able to be fully engaged as both a state senator and party chair, saying, “you're going to be impressed by his abilities.”
Sen. Thrasher, who currently chairs the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, announced that he would step down as committee chair.
The new party chair urged the party to move on from the controversies of the Jim Greer era. “Our focus is on beating our enemies, not ourselves,” he said. “Our enemy is the liberal media and the Democrats. And that's where we will begin to focus our assaults.”
Senate Minority Leader Alfred “Al” Lawson, Jr., (D-Tallahassee) reacted harshly to Sen. Thrasher's comments, saying, “In his comments, Sen. Thrasher referred to voters that register with the Democratic Party as his ‘enemy.' John Thrasher's language is beyond the pale and offensive to the nearly 4.7 million voters who identify themselves as Florida Democrats.” Sen. Lawson said that he would immediately request that Senate President Atwater remove Sen. Thrasher from membership on both the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and the Senate Reapportionment Committee.