Blaise Ingoglia says Lenny Curry victory a “proxy” for RPOF strategy to win in 2016


Blaise Ingoglia has been a man on a mission since he upset the GOP establishment by becoming the surprise new head of the Republican Party of Florida in January.

At the party’s spring quarterly meeting in Orlando this month, the native New Yorker and state House member  introduced what he said will be a key to the party putting the state into the ‘R’ column in November of 2016. It’s a program called Project 29, which the representative of Spring Hill and other parts of Hernando County says is a plan to fully engage in all communities, including some the RPOF has only given lip service to: black and Hispanic voters.

“We believe that we have the best message, so the best way to communicate that message is one-on-one conversations with people in their communities,” he told Florida Politics on Thursday in Sarasota. “So if we’re in an area that is predominantly Hispanic, we want to go into those communities and just start having conversations because what we’ll find is, the things that are important to one community, are pretty much important to another community.

“Now there will be nuances, and the trick is to learn those nuances. People need to know that we actually care and we show them by being involved in the community.”

Ingoglia was in the 941 area code region to introduce Donald Trump, who spoke to about 1,500 people at the at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Trump has formed an exploratory committee, saying he’ll announce his plans for 2016  next month. He’s the third potential GOP presidential candidate to roll through Sarasota this year, following Rand Paul and Ben Carson.

Ingoglia is laser-focused on delivering Florida’s 29 electoral votes next year to whoever the Republicans nominate for president. Most political analysts say the Republicans have to win Florida and those 29 electoral votes to win the election.

Barack Obama did win the state in 2012, but didn’t need Florida to do so. He got to 270 electoral votes on election night, while Florida’s 29 electoral votes didn’t go to him until four days later because of a delayed vote count.

Ingoglia said Lenny Curry‘s victor over Alvin Brown in last week’s mayoral election in Jacksonville is a “proxy” on how the party plans to turn out voters in next November’s presidential contest.

“In terms of having the best data available in order to turn out the vote and how we turn out the vote, the grassroots, the ground game and the digital part, the RPOF invested heavily in that, and the RPOF and the RNC (Republican National Committee) were both involved in that race, and the Florida Dems and the national Dems were also involved in that race, and we came out on top, so that’s what bodes well for 2016,” he said.

According to a memo issued  Thursday by Florida GOP Executive Director Brad Herold, the RPOF paid for 70 field staffers to help assist the Curry campaign. Harold also noted that the RPOF also ran a volunteer phone-bank out of RPOF headquarters in Tallahassee that focused on chasing down Republicans who requested absentee ballots to ensure they voted.

This month Ingoglia announced that the fundraising firm Political Capital will lead the party’s fundraising efforts for the 2016 cycle and Heather Manso will take over next week as full-time finance director. He said the group who will be part of the finance committee will be announced soon, “and you’re going to see some very big names on there committed to helping the party, who who have committees to raising money for the party because we’re going to need it in order to be successful “

“I’m working nonstop calling people and networking and meeting donors, so the fundraising part of it is going to be strong and the grassroots added is going to be strong, ” he said. “We’re rolling out the digital infrastructure right now, and the data infrastructure is being built out as we speak, so we’re doing everything we need to do in order to win the presidential election.”

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


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