Jesse Phillips continues fight to become Florida GOP Vice Chair as Michael Thompson drops out

Jesse Phillips copy
Evan Power and Donald Trump endorsed Kevin Cabrera. But Phillips sees a need for party experience.

Jesse Phillips, Seminole County Republican State Committeeman, will continue his campaign for Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Vice Chair.

He made that clear even after both former President Donald Trump and RPOF Chair Evan Power endorsed Miami-Dade Commissioner Kevin Cabrera.

“I have tremendous respect for Mr. Cabrera’s fieldwork for the Trump campaign. I have also heard growing concern about his lack of experience on the State Executive Committee,” Phillips said.

“He recently became a State Committeeman, and I do not believe he has attended a quarterly meeting as a member of the Committee. I have the utmost respect for President Trump, and it is only out of respect for my colleagues and leaders across Florida’s 67 counties, with whom I have served these last eight years, that I am facilitating an important leadership discussion about the role of Vice Chair and the qualifications we seek for an applicant to that position.”

Of note, Michael Thompson, Lee County Republican Chair, withdrew from the race immediately after Trump issued an endorsement.

“I would like to congratulate Kevin Cabrera and agree with President Trump that Kevin is a battle-tested America First Patriot, and he has my full and total support,” Thompson posted.

But Phillips believes his experience as a member of the state committee gives him a greater understanding than Cabrera, who just joined the Republican Executive Committee as Miami-Dade State Committeeman. Cabrera previously worked as Florida State Director for Trump’s presidential campaign.

Phillips said it is vital to have a good relationship with the campaign.

“The purpose for the party is to elect our presumptive nominee, who at this point is Trump,” Phillips said. “I’ve always viewed the party as an important extension of the campaign.”

But he said it’s also important to have a party veteran serving as Vice Chair of the state party.

“In Seminole, I learned the importance of the kind of leadership for field staff of campaigns,” Phillips said. “I’ve been very involved at the ground level. It really is a relationship management position. You have to learn what everybody is after; communicate in the same way, versus engaging in turf wars and issues that can derail an election effort at critical moments.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Thomas Kaspar

    January 25, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    What happened to this guys rape trial?
    He was accused of raping like 4 girls back when he was in college. Did he just pay all his victims hush money?

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