On a conference call with reporters in a few minutes, Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer is expected to step down from the chairmanship Gov. Charlie Crist gave him in 2007. The move leaves Crist without one of his most important allies, and supporters of Marco Rubio with real hope they can defeat Crist in this year's primary.
It's hard to overstate the importance of this resignation to the national GOP landscape.
Florida is shaping up to be the epicenter of the intraparty GOP war in 2010, and the resignation of Greer suggests the battle is tilting toward the ultra-conservatives on the tea party side of the line. Ever since Crist entered the Senate race, Rubio backers have accused Greer of turning the state party into an arm of the Crist campaign. Crist and Greer are longtime political friends, and Greer made it clear from the get-go that he supported Crist over Rubio (he promised to run the party objectively, however.) Rubio backers began to attack him and call for his resignation. Now -- over Crist's objections -- they appear to have gotten their wish.
National conservatives are already hailing Greer's resignation as a victory for the tea party-types who want the party purged of moderates like Crist.
Red State's Erick Erickson tweeted, "Jim Greer is stepping down as Chairman of the Florida GOP. Another scalp taken by the right as we travel with Marco Rubio to victory."