New RPOF Chair Blaise Ingoglia assures state committee members, "The party has funds"


Contrary to reports, the Republican Party of Florida is doing just fine, newly elected Party Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said Thursday night.

Speaking with state committee members on a conference call, Ingoglia said that despite the fact that political committees representing the Senate and Gov. Rick Scott both pulled cash out of the RPOF’s coffers as his victory over incumbent party chair Leslie Dougher became imminent, “The party is in a very good cash position.” He said that he was having discussions with both Senate President Andy Gardiner and Scott’s office, and “everybody is on the same page.”

The money issue surfaced several times in the call.

“The party has funds,” he said later. “Don’t listen to any of the naysayers that say we can’t raise money.”

Ingoglia has certainly been busy in the 19 days since he was elected party chair. He announced that within the next month or two the party will unveil a new logo that he says will be a signal to the grassroots, the donors and the Legislature that “what we’re doing here is a little bit different.”

That includes contacting all state committee members by the end of this month to gauge their interest in participating on a number of different committees, such as legislative affairs, veterans outreach, Hispanic outreach and African-American outreach. He said there will be new caucuses created, including an I-4 corridor caucus, where members will work on strategies to win the area from St. Petersburg to Orlando, the key stretch of real estate needed to capture the state’s 29 electoral votes in 2016.

Because, Ingloglia emphasized, that’s what it’s all about for the party: getting the state’s 29 electoral votes in the “R” category in November of 2016.

In addition, he intends to foster “an extremely aggressive digital platform” to be shared with the county parties, creating what he calls a digital network and infrastructure to market the party’s message and the candidates delivering that message.

Ingoglia was asked by one committeeman on the call what he and his colleagues could do to help the chairman.

“Remain positive,” he replied, saying that there was “a lot of misinformation going around, trying to create the perception that things are not going as planned, but they are.”

He also announced the current situation with the RPOF staff.

David Johnson will continue to as interim executive director of the party for the next 90 days. Johnson and Pablo Diaz have been leading Ingoglia’s transition to party chairman. Diaz will continue on the transition team as an adviser.

Brad Harold, deputy state director for Sen. Marco Rubio’s office in Florida, now will become the deputy executive director for the party.

Tallahassee-based political consultant Sarah Bascom will be interim communications director on a volunteer basis. Lyndsey Cruley, who works with Bascom, will be the interim press secretary on an volunteer basis as well.

George Riley, a holdover from the previous administration, will be director of party affairs and development, which Ingoglia says will be an expanded role with more responsibilities.

“I will tell you that the future of the Republican Party is bright,” Ingoglia said. Most of those members who asked him questions seemed to agree.

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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