The chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County — where the party swept every election last Tuesday — is crediting a controversial local blogger with a history of extremist statements with helping “shift the whole area right,” in the process calling him a “great American” and “part of the team.”

The comments from Republican Party chairman Joe Gruters came in an election night interview with Red County blogger Richard Swier, who has called homosexuality a “destructive behavior” and compared murdered Kansas abortion provider George Tiller to a Nazi scientist. Swier also led an unsuccessful effort to convince the Sarasota County school system to get rid of a world history textbook because, according to him, it depicts “Islamic conquest as good” and “Western civilizations as evil.”

An excerpt from the Swier-Gruters interview:

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On election night, Swier also spoke with newly reelected Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, as well as Ray Pilon, the victorious Republican challenger to state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota.

Buchanan thanked Swier for his writing, calling it “appreciated.” “Of course, we go back a lot of years,” Buchanan said to Swier. “I consider you a dear friend.”

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