For the first two thirds of the 20th Century, the Republican Party of Florida had a well-deserved reputation for being quiet, weak, and ineffectual. The Democratic Party dominated electoral politics so completely that some counties in the panhandle and north central Florida prided themselves on having no registered Republicans. Yet at the 1952 state Republican convention, held in the sleepy college town of Gainesville, the participants acted as if their meeting mattered. A group of upstarts led by Miami real estate developers Wesley and Florence Garrison, a couple some regarded as reformers and some regarded as rabblerousers, commandeered the front row of seating and refused to allow the state executive committee to take their positions on stage. After the Alachua County sheriff restored order, the Garrisons and their supporters made their presence known by repeatedly interrupting the opening roll call with chants of "contest" and "communist," and slamming their chair legs loudly against the tile floor. At issue was the party's decision to abandon the primary election and select its delegates to the Republican national convention without participation from rank and file party members, a choice the Garrisons vehemently opposed. Despite the repeated distractions, however, the state party went on with its agenda and appointed a delegate slate that excluded the Gamsons and their allies.
Bowen, Michael D.
"The Strange Tale of Wesley and Florence Garrison: Racial Crosscurrents of the Postwar Florida Republican Party,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 88:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol88/iss1/3