Republican Party of Florida Chairman David “Dave” Bitner is dead at the age of 62.
Bitner died early today following a brief battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
A Maryland native, Bitner moved to Florida in 1967. Just last week he announced plans to retire from the position as state Republican chairman on September 23rd at Presidency 5 in Orlando.
"My prayers go out to Chairman Bitner, his wife Wendy and his family," stated Richard DeNapoli, Broward Republican Party chairman. "He was a great man, a great friend and a courageous leader for the Republican Party of Florida."
Bitner, a former state representative from Port Charlotte, learned in April that he had ALS, an incurable disease that progressively attacks the brain and spine and eventually leads to complete paralysis. At that time, Bitner pledged to carry out his duties as long as he could. Last week he entered hospice.
”It has been the honor of a lifetime to work by Chairman Bitner’s side,” stated Lenny Curry, Florida GOP Vice-Chairman. ”Not only was Dave a born leader, he was an exemplary man in every sense. In honor of his example, I am committed to ensure that the Republican Party of Florida continues its tradition of service to our beloved state.”