By George Bennett
Former Republican U.S. Mark Foley held pariah status with many in the GOP after he abruptly resigned in 2006 over sexually charged e-mails to male congressional pages. Many Republicans said Foley’s disgrace a few weeks before the midterm elections helped Democrats take control of the House and the Senate from the GOP that year.
But Foley — who launched a talk radio show last year and recently flirted with entering the nonpartisan mayor’s race in West Palm Beach — is slowly regaining acceptance among Republicans.
Foley was on the host committee last year for a fund-raiser for Republican Sharon Merchant’s failed state Senate bid. He spoke to a Palm Beach County Young Republicans meeting last week and introduced new U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, at the grand opening of West’s district office in West Palm Beach Tuesday.
Foley’s speech to the YRs was his first public appearance at a Republican event since his resignation.
“It obviously feels good to have people care enough to ask me to do it,” Foley said of the recent speaking invitations.
Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein was among Foley’s harshest critics after his 2006 resignation and publicly urged Foley not to run for mayor in West Palm Beach. Dinerstein said he’d rather not see Foley run for office again (“Google never forgets,” Dinerstein said), but wishes him well personally.
“He remains very charming and engaging,” said Dinerstein, who attended the West office opening where Foley spoke. “The anger that I had for about two years is gone.”