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November 04, 2008

Chairman of Gators for McCain votes for Obama

Several blogs have picked up the news that Josh Simmons, Chairman of Gators for McCain at UF has publicly announced that he voted for Barrack Obama. Simmons had also been serving as Executive Director of the Florida Federation of College Republicans.

Simmons submitted his resignation to both organizations over the last 2 days.

This is all water under the bridge at this point... except for one small detail - Simmons voted for Obama just after the Colin Powell endorsement and still continued to operate in both capacities.

Click here for 2 press stories: The Gator and the Huffington Post

Below is my response to Mr Simmons. I know him dating back to my term as State Chairman of the College Republicans:


Mr Simmons,

While I certainly would not impugn your motives as to your vote, I would also add that as it is clear you didn't just come to these conclusions November 2, your public announcement appears to be as much informative as it is calculated.

Using Colin Powell as an example as you have, you might also bear in mind that he currently holds no offices within the party or the Bush administration. His criticism is therefore rendered as a private citizen and elder statesman, not as an official of the party or the McCain campaign.

You on the other hand remained on the job as the senior representative of the McCain campaign at UF after you had already cast your vote for Obama. While you may consider that unimportant, it lends itself strongly to the notion that you've used the circumstances of someone in your position voting for Obama to gain you public noteriety.

If your decision to vote for Obama was merely a matter of a change in your feelings toward McCain you should have simply resigned from your positions, cast your vote, and then gotten on with your life.

It would even have been a different story if you had resigned, voted for Obama, and then volunteered to help the Obama campaign as a Republican who switched over. Then you could have legitimately claimed your decision was a matter of conscience.

But you didn't do either of those things. Instead you've made a public spectacle out of the fact that the Chairman of Gators for McCain voted for Obama. 1 day before the election.

And thus in the end although you claim to have not sought this "as a personal affront to anyone I have worked with over the past several months," you appear to have put your personal interests ahead of the interests of the group you were responsible for leading.



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As another former state CR chairman, I would like to concur with the comments of Mr. GOP. I would never begrudge a man for changing his mind, but I count it as a mark against Josh Simmons that he betrayed a position of trust. From the time line given, it appears Simmons was acting as an Obama agent while holding office in the Republican Party and McCain campaign. While a volunteer leadership position in youth politics is a far cry from a marriage vow or a military commission, it is a position of trust none the less and Simmons betrayed that. I would like to chalk this up as youthful indiscretion not knowing him, but the best I can say is that Simmons exercised about as much good judgment here as Obama did listening in the pews to a virulently racist pastor for 20 years without saying a word until he ran for president. In that sense at least, John Simmons and Barack Obama deserve each other.

Mr. GOP I think that your reaction to this is far too gracious towards Josh. While he does indeed have the right to support the candidate he feels would be best for our country. His dishonesty should be seen as nothing more than a tactical ploy in attempts of gaining favor for his current application process to the U of Chicago Law School (where Obama lectured). In addition I would like to see him refund the local republican headquarters for all the food and resources of theirs that he used as well as compensation for the time and gas used by volunteers in giving him rides.

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