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Politics

Blaise Ingoglia Unseats Leslie Dougher as RPOF Chair

January 16, 2015 - 6:00pm

Republican Party of Florida Vice Chair Blaise Ingoglia unseated Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked chairwoman, Leslie Dougher, Saturday morning at the party's annual meeting in Orlando.

More than 220 members of the RPOF voting committee cast their ballots for chair. In order to bypass a second ballot, a candidate had to receive a majority -- 113 votes. No candidate received a majority.Ingoglia initially received 80 votes and Dougher 79, prompting a second ballot.

Dougher's team and most others were confident she would pull off a win for a second term as party chair, but she ultimately couldn't make it happen.

Ingoglia received 132 votes while Dougher received 90.
It's the first time in Florida history a governor's pick for chair has not been selected.
The newly elected state representative told Sunshine State News Friday he was confident he would win on Saturday.

"I am humbled and honored," said Ingoglia after the vote.
Ingoglia expressed a longing to return the party back to earlier times by mobilizing a grassroots movement to invigorate the party and take back the White House.
"We do not need to change our message," he told the crowd. "We need to change the way we deliver that message."

Later, in a formalized statement from RPOF, he said,"I am humbled and honored to have been elected to lead the Republican Party of Florida. We are a strong, grassroots organization and a model for success for other state parties around the country to look to. RPOF will play a crucial role in selecting our party's nominee in 2016 and returning a Republican to the White House. I am thrilled to lead this great party and look forward to working with the grassroots across this state."

Not long after Ingoglia was declared the winner, he issued a no-nonsense letter "to all officers, staff members and consultants" at RPOF.

From this moment forward," he wrote, "the Republican Party of Florida shall not process payment, incur costs, issue checks, transfer money or make any financial commitments without strict written approval of myself or a designated member of my transition staff.

Ignoglia has named David Johnson and Pablo Diaz to orchestra his transition.

Dougher, who was originally elected as chair in May after former RPOF chair Lenny Curry left the position to run for mayor of Jacksonville, led the party during a particularly fruitful election season with big wins for the Republican Party.

"I jumped on the proverbial speeding freight train," she said.

But Dougher's ride as chair is over now, and Ingoglia will be leading the party onward to 2016.

Scott said the vote whittled down to a party full of differing perspectives and views.

Many were ready to go in a different direction and I respect that," he said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Blaise Ingoglia to make Florida the best place for Floridas families.

The RPOF may have a particularly large role in the 2016 presidential election, with two Florida names -- former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio -- widely afloat as possible contenders for the GOP nomination.
Reach Allison Nielsen at allison@sunshinestatenews.com.

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