No. 20 on the list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians: Blaise Ingoglia
Blaise Ingoglia.

The Republican Party of Florida Chair-turned-Senator holds power in politics and policy.

The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) has had three new Chairs since Blaise Ingoglia last held the title. But the Spring Hill Republican still looked like a leader holding court as he left a consequential meeting in January.

The press surrounded the Senator, eager to learn details of the ouster of one of his successors, Christian Ziegler. He provided that and fielded questions on election reform while tossing jabs at the Florida Democratic Party.

It shows how the Spring Hill Republican, less than halfway through his first Session as a Senator, still remains a booming voice on politics and policy in the state Capitol. That, in turn, explains the Hernando County politician’s ranking on a list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful.

“Blaise Ingoglia is certainly not afraid of a fight, and though in politics that often invites many adversaries, Blaise commands his respect through unwavering determination and meticulous preparation,” said Heather Turnbull of Rubin Turnbull. “A proverbial foxhole guy, he is a steadfast ally who will go to bat for his side, leading with courage and conviction.”

His time as Chair seemed most notable for establishing a certain independence from the state executive branch during Rick Scott’s tenure as Governor. Nearly a decade ago, he won the RPOF Chair position by unseating Scott’s hand-picked leader, Leslie Dougher.

But all that seemed to change when Gov. Ron DeSantis won election as Florida’s Governor by a razor-thin margin in 2018. The Governor’s win then surely depended in part on the efforts of the state party in an election cycle that generally favored Democrats nationwide.

Ingoglia, as a lawmaker, quickly established a solid relationship with DeSantis and carried many of his early legislative priorities in the House, including a push for small business deregulation. The relationship ultimately paid off significantly for Ingoglia when he secured DeSantis’ endorsement for an open Senate seat in 2022, effectively ending what many predicted would be an expensive Republican Primary.

His ability to strike a balance with one foot in politics and another in policy played a role in his transition to the upper chamber.

“From his time in the House and as Chair of the RPOF, I have known Sen. Ingoglia for many years. I always admired his passion and fearlessness,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.

“When selecting committee Chairs for my term as Senate President, I thought back to his initial foray into the political arena with his Government Gone Wild videos. I thought he would be the perfect person to champion tax relief as Chair of Finance and Tax. It was a pleasure to work with him on historic tax relief measures that are making a difference at the kitchen tables of growing families and seniors.”

He maintained a strong relationship with DeSantis-world into the 2024 Presidential Election cycle. As the Governor tried to catapult from a landslide re-election win to the White House, he tapped Ingoglia to chair his cash-rich Friends of Ron DeSantis as it shifted its mission from advancing a state agenda to electing a Florida leader as President.

Ingoglia also served as DeSantis’ surrogate, rallying support within the Legislature for the Governor’s presidential campaign and getting most sitting Senators to sign on. That directly led to DeSantis landing 100 legislative endorsements as he launched his presidential campaign.

While DeSantis ultimately suspended his White House run after an underwhelming performance in Iowa, he remains the most powerful figure in state government for the next two years. Expect the loyalty that Ingoglia showed to the Governor to pay off in dividends for his district.

Some wondered if Ingoglia was doing the Governor a solid at the January RPOF meeting. Like nearly every member of the state party committee, Ingoglia helped remove Ziegler as a scandal created headaches for the Governor. But Ingoglia also nearly single-handedly shut down a proposal for a winner-take-all Primary system in Florida to be implemented before the 2026 gubernatorial race.

That the bill effectively died on arrival after Ingoglia, the natural election reform sponsor in the Senate, booed the idea shows the influence that the lawmaker boasts in the Capitol. Party officials acknowledge that many Republican officers still treat Ingoglia as a statesman and expert on what’s best for the Florida GOP.



We define the Tampa Bay region as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota — if the politicians from those counties impact either Pinellas or Hillsborough.

We define a politician as being in office or running for office.

Being first on a panelist’s list earns the politician 25 points, second earns them 24 points and so on, to where being listed 25th earns a politician 1 point. Points are added and, voilà, we have a list.

Special thanks go to our experienced and knowledgeable panelists, who were essential to developing the 2024 list: Christina Barker of the Vinik Family Office, Ashley Bauman of Mercury, Matthew Blair of Corcoran Partners, Ed Briggs of RSA Consulting, political consultant Maya BrownRicky Butler of the Pinellas Co. Sheriff’s Office, Reggie Cardozo of The Public Square, Ronald Christaldi of Schumaker, Ana Cruz of Ballard Partners, Justin Day of Capital City Consulting, Barry EdwardsJoe Farrell of Pinellas Realtors, pollster Matt Florell of Vicidial Group, Shawn Foster of Sunrise Consulting Group, Adam Giery of Strategos Group, political consultant Max GoodmanMike Griffin of Savills, Natalie King of RSA Consulting, political consultant Benjamin Kirby, TECO Energy Regional Affairs Coordinator Shannon Love, Merritt Martin of Moffitt Cancer Center, Mike Moore of The Southern Group, political consultant Anthony PediciniRon Pierce of RSA Consulting, J.C. Pritchett, pastor of St. Pete’s Faith Church, Darren Richards of Tucker/Hall, Preston Rudie of Catalyst Communications Group, Amanda Stewart of Johnston and Stewart, and Alan Suskey of Shumaker Advisors. With Michelle and Peter Schorsch.

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

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 30, 2024 at 9:11 am

    Seriously? Either one of APL’s twin gals is alone more powerful than Blasé Ignoramius

    You want to know what’s in store when Florida’s GOP voters have finally had enough of their local MAGA-MFL reps?

    Bonneville (Idaho) GOP said it all when their voters booted the MAGA-MFL reps. They gave away all their money yesterday. The new reps start tomorrow.

    Be vewy vewy quiet careful of how many MAGA-MFLs you grant power over you and your tax money. Maga-MFLS a buncha vindictive “CYA next time”s.

    When we give the MAGA-MFLs some power and then we take it away, for that they make hay, for that they try to make us pay. J6, remember that day?

Comments are closed.


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