April Schiff unseats key GOP operative, setting the stage for a change in leadership

April Schiff
Schiff replaces a GOP chair Jim Waurishuk ally, Clarice Henderson.

GOP consultant April Schiff defeated incumbent GOP State Committeewoman Clarice Henderson Tuesday night, setting up what could be a shift in Hillsborough County Republican politics.

Schiff earned 53% of the vote, according to unofficial election results with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.

Schiff is an ally of Republican Party of Hillsborough County chair Jim Waurishuk, a controversial leader in the party who some have been bold enough to criticize.

Waurishuk has drawn fire in the past for incendiary statements comparing Democrats to Nazis and calling the novel coronavirus a hoax.

Most recently he took heat for appearing to promote Hillsborough County Sheriff candidate Charles Boswell who unsuccessfully challenged Chad Chronister. The party, under Waurishuk’s leadership, sent a flyer to members promoting Boswell. Waurishuk defended the move saying it’s something they would have done for either Republican candidate. Chronister, who faced criticism from some in his own party for past financial support for former President Barack Obama, defeated Boswell in a landslide with 62% of the vote.

While some have been private with their concerns about Waurishuk, Schiff was an outspoken member arguing Waurishuk failed to unite the party amid an outsized loyalty to President Donald Trump.

It’s been common insider knowledge for a while that Republicans would like to see a change in leadership in the Hillsborough GOP, but Waurishuk commanded a majority of allies among the party precinct, which elect the chair.

State committee positions are elected among all registered Republicans in the county, however. Schiff’s election gives the party a new perspective and puts a dent in Waurishuk’s alliance.

Schiff ran unsuccessfully against Waurishuk in 2018.

She hopes to better unite the party and reengage conservatives in a local party that has seen declining membership and fundraising.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


16 comments

  • nunya

    August 19, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Jim Waurishuk should resign. I used to serve in the county party and then left. He is an embarrassment and hides behind this small clique of people recruited as precinct committeemen from the weird river church in Tampa. Clarice Henderson and her husband and their son all hold executive officer positions with the county party and were part of the cabal that threw a coup a few years ago to take over the party. Ever since then they have alienated almost everyone and have driven away donations and closed ranks all while losing important offices in the County. Jim is a terrible leader and engages in all the behaviors he criticized as the reason to remove the prior leadership of the county party. It’s just awful

    • Jackson

      August 20, 2020 at 7:48 am

      Do you not proofread before publishing?

      April Schiff is a critic of the current chair, not “Schiff is an ally of Republican Party of Hillsborough County chair Jim Waurishuk.”

      The outgoing state committeewoman is the ally, not the incoming.

    • Gregg Prentice

      August 20, 2020 at 1:18 pm

      nunya, I am a current member of the county Republican party and your post/opinion is completely off base, uninformed, deceptive, and/or worse.

      You not using your real name on your post should be telling to all.

      I call you out. Reveal your yourself or take your drivel elsewhere.

      • Linus

        August 21, 2020 at 8:41 pm

        Oh I guess because you say so it must be the case. Jim is borderline crazy and makes unhinged remarks and is the opposite of all the things he says he would do in response to the prior leadership. The only thing he and the EC is interested in is staying in control. I’m glad Clarice got booted and look forward to the rest of those deadbeats getting removed as the plan is already in progress.

        • Gregg Prentice

          August 21, 2020 at 10:54 pm

          Yeah, someone else lurking in the shadows of an alias.

          False equivalence is one of the hallmarks of progressives, so congratulations.

          Care to name a few specific areas where Jim is mimicking his predecessors, or “i guess because you say so it must be the case”?

          And when all you’ve got is claiming you know someone else’s MOTIVES, perhaps you should reflect on your own.

          • John Galt

            August 22, 2020 at 4:33 pm

            Uh you just have to go to a few meetings to see what’s wrong with Furher Waurishuk. He doesn’t listen to the committeeman, doesn’t return calls, is rude, makes idiotic statements on twitter and Facebook and then blames the media for all his self inflicted issues. He’s an idiot and not very bright. If you’ve watched over the last two years that the treasury has been depleted because people stop donating. Wonder why that is? Take a look at the leader for starters. He’s a joke and has no people skills whatsoever

        • Betsy Ross

          August 22, 2020 at 9:41 am

          Wow! So Abe Lincoln has given away the scoop with his “little. religious power trip’ comment. It’s a bizarre thing to say, because the GOP has nothing to do with religion, but still, if you’re so against God, join the Democrats, they hate God too!

        • Betsy Ross

          August 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

          Funny thing about ‘plans’ Linus, you’re not the ONLY one who can have one.

          • Jimmys brother

            August 22, 2020 at 4:35 pm

            Well you’ll just need to wait and see how this goes as Jimmy and his group of river church zealots are going to find out very soon.

  • Betsy Ross

    August 20, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Y’all are too ridiculous! First, Schiff is not an ally of Waurishuk. Second, she and her minions WALKED OUT after she got CRUSHED by Waurishuk in the election for Chairman in 2018. She & Hillsborough Hillary Deb Tamargo, who resigned to avoid the embarrassment of the RPOF removing her for being shady, have been plotting ever since. She has ZERO interest in ‘uniting’ the local party, she’s a RINO who wants to get rid of the conservatives. She’s a typical ‘establishment’ Republican. Her last name might as well be Romney. You’re as bad as the Toilet Paper Bay Times! 😂

    • Abe Lincoln

      August 21, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      I think April is a rational person unlike you and the other idiots whom have driven the Hillsborough GOP into the ground on your little religious power trip. Time to purge the rest of you as one has already been removed.

      • Betsy Ross

        August 22, 2020 at 9:40 am

        Wow! So Abe Lincoln has given away the scoop with his “little. religious power trip’ comment. It’s a bizarre thing to say, because the GOP has nothing to do with religion, but still, if you’re so against God, join the Democrats, they hate God too!

  • Betsy Ross

    August 20, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Y’all are too ridiculous! First, Schiff is not an ally of Waurishuk. Second, she and her minions WALKED OUT after she got CRUSHED by Waurishuk in the election for Chairman in 2018. She & Hillsborough Hillary Deb Tamargo, who resigned to avoid the embarrassment of the RPOF removing her for being shady, have been plotting ever since. She has ZERO interest in ‘uniting’ the local party, she’s a RINO who wants to get rid of the conservatives. She’s a typical ‘establishment’ Republican. Her last name might as well be Romney.

  • Gregg Prentice

    August 20, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Janelle Irwin Taylor: How is it you and Florida Politics are NEVER able to find your way to even attempting to appear unbiased?

    This article is case in point: entirely lopsided, inaccurate, deceptive FAKE NEWS.

  • Mike Kersmarki

    August 20, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Wow. Did ‘journalist’ Janelle Irwin Taylor even try to reach Waurishuk for comment? Don’t see any indication of that here. So much for fairness.

    Then again, maybe we should let Janelle ‘puppet’ Taylor off the hook because it’s more likely that this lopsided, completely unfair hit piece was either dictated by Schiff word-for-word to her little puppy Taylor or Schiff just wrote the whole darned thing herself.

    Journalism is dead and millennial hacks like Janelle “no-integrity” Taylor have helped to kill it.

    You can’t really blame jaded political operatives like Schiff, who may be a lot of things good and bad, but it was one of the funniest lines of the week when the story touted Schiff as the local GOP’s answer to ‘reengage conservatives.”

    THAT one line alone truly made my day.

    Ultimately, Schiff is just doing what political animals do by taking advantage of reporter wannabees who have no clue about what it’s like to write a real story with actual facts that at least attempt to be balanced.

    No, we’ve entered a new era of anything goes journalism; facts and actual truth be damned as long as it gets Trump or ANYONE who has dared to support him.

    But be careful, April.

    Your little Fourth Estate friends may smile at you now.

    But if you’re not ‘woke’ enough or hate police enough or embrace socialism enough or BLM’s Marxism and religious hatred enough, well, they’ll turn on you faster than you can say Romney.

    • Mr moneypenny

      August 22, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      Don’t you or Jim have some moderately insane drivel to post on Twitter or Facebook and then blame the media for reporting on your idiotic behavior? Pretty circular logic if you ask me. How’s that fundraising been going guys?

Comments are closed.


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