Bill Helmich takes over as Florida GOP Interim Executive Director
Bill Helmich, image via X.

Bill Helmich
The veteran operative takes over as George Riley seeks help for personal issues.

Bill Helmich kicked off his political career working at the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) in 1997. Now he returns as Interim Executive Director, following months of tumult and ahead of a critical Presidential Election.

Despite some leadership shake-ups, Helmich said the focus of the party remains unchanged.

“The most important thing is retaining the presidency for Florida for Donald Trump, and maintaining majorities in the Florida House and Senate, possibly supermajorities,” Helmich said. Trump won Florida’s electoral votes in 2016 and in 2020.

He takes over day-to-day operations after George Riley, former Executive Director for the party, went missing and turned up in Osceola County. Riley acknowledged in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times that he was dealing with “alcoholism and mental health issues.”

RPOF Chair Evan Power this weekend announced that Helmich, a close political ally, would take Riley’s place leading day-to-day business within the party.

“George is getting the help he needs so that he can return to helping us move the party forward,” Power said in an email to party members.

“During this time, I have consulted with several of our stakeholders and as a result, it is my pleasure to announce that William ‘Bill’ Helmich will be serving as our Interim Executive Director. Many of you know Bill and he is prepared to hit the ground running.”

Power notably came into the party Chair position earlier this year after the firing of former Chair Christian Ziegler amid a sex scandal.

Helmich has held a variety of leadership positions in the party before, including as Chief of Staff for the House Majority Office during the 2003 and 2004 Legislative Sessions and as Director of House Campaigns for the 2006 election cycle.

He also has worked with the party and lawmakers as head of Helmich Consulting, a firm he founded in 2004.

The veteran Marine said he will keep the party focused on voter registration. Registered Republicans in Florida outnumber Democrats by nearly 900,000 as of the end of March, a gap Republicans have grown steadily over the past few years.

“We are working with our 67 county parties and leadership, reaching out to new voters,” he said. “We are urging Democrats and independents to switch to Republican and identifying all of the people moving to the free state of Florida and making sure they register Republican.”

The state party will provide a consistent resource for state House and Senate campaigns. His focus will be on making sure that the staff at the state party works efficiently, on administration critical to winning elections in the fall, and leaving much of the messaging to Power and political leaders.

“My role is to supply support day to day so Evan can get the Republican message out to the state of Florida,” he said.

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].


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