Politics

Leslie Dougher Emerges as Clear Favorite for RPOF Chair

By: Brandon Larrabee News Service of Florida | Posted: May 8, 2014 3:55 AM
Leslie Dougher

Leslie Dougher

With the official vote more than three weeks away and less than six months before crucial statewide elections, the head of the Clay County GOP appears a shoe-in to replace outgoing Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry.

Leslie Dougher, who also serves as leader of the chairman caucus for the state party, has emerged as the front-runner for the position at the same time that other high-profile contenders have backed out. House Speaker Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel, who was himself floated as a potential RPOF chairman, tweeted out his support Wednesday.

"I am honored to support @lesliedougher for RPOF Chairman," Weatherford said in a morning post on the social-media site.


Sen. John Thrasher, a former RPOF chairman, said Dougher is likely to be the choice. He said Republican leaders are signaling their support for Dougher.

"We all think that she's going to be a stabilizing person for the party between now and the election," said Thrasher, R-St. Augustine.

A Twitter account, @DraftDougher, has also popped up in recent days to sing the Clay County chairwoman's praises, though it's not entirely clear who is behind the account, which had 284 followers as of Wednesday afternoon.

Dougher did not return a phone message and an email seeking comment Wednesday. A profile on one of her social media pages -- which does not reference a potential bid for state chair -- says Dougher was "groomed for such a time as this."

"Cutting her baby teeth on small, fiscally conservative government nursery rhymes, low taxes and personal responsibility, she graduated from high school while President Ronald Reagan was in office," the profile says. "It was Reagan’s message that further fueled her interest in politics, community and the world around her, and inspired her to roll-up her sleeves and get to work."

Curry, who took over as chairman in September 2011, announced last week he would step aside to weigh running for mayor of Jacksonville against incumbent Alvin Brown, who became the first Democrat to hold the seat in two decades when he won in 2011.

"I feel obligated to give myself the time to fully consider and explore how to serve this community I care for so deeply," Curry wrote in his resignation letter.

The party will select its next chairman on May 31, during its quarterly meeting in Tampa.

Curry presided over a difficult time for the party, which saw President Barack Obama win the state a second time and Democrats increase the size of their minorities in the state House and Senate. But the GOP remains in firm control of state government, and every member of the Cabinet is a favorite for re-election this fall.

At the same time, Gov. Rick Scott faces a pitched re-election battle against former Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat. Most polls show Crist holding a lead in the race, though some recent surveys also reflect a dead heat between the two.

The party shuffle is similar to Thrasher's election in February 2010, after then-Chairman Jim Greer was pushed out of the top post. Thrasher said party members and grassroots activists "rallied behind me" in what ended up being a successful year for Republicans.

"I think the same thing's going to happen this time," he said.

But not everyone is pleased at how the field has cleared for Dougher. Javier Manjarres, a conservative blogger at "The Shark Tank" website, wrote that the RPOF was rigging the election after Blaise Ingoglia, vice chairman of the party, and Sarasota County Chairman Joe Gruters said they wouldn't run.

Majarres wrote that those two were passed over "simply because they could probably outshine Rick Scott in this election year."


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (3)

where is the evidence of this?
4:16PM MAY 11TH 2014
Out of the choices on the poll on this website, as of right now only two selections have been made.

Paula Dockery or someone not mentioned above. Leslie Dougher has not got one vote.

That's like the BS polls released last week stating Jeb Bush was coming in high percentages for the 2016 presidential race.That was BS as well.

May 10, 2014 Newsmax poll-

In a Republican presidential primary, who would you prefer as the GOP nominee?

Gov. Bobby Jindal
4,709(4%)

Dr. Ben Carson
6,328(6%)

Gov. Chris Christie
7,149(7%)

Gov. Jan Brewer
3,830(3%)

Gov. Jeb Bush
6,573(6%)

Gov. John Kasich
2,331(2%)

Sen. Marco Rubio [ birth qualifications questionable]
3,191(3%)

Gov. Mike Huckabee
6,676(6%)

Gov. Mitt Romney
8,809(9%)

Gov. Nikki Haley
2,031(2%)

Rep. Paul Ryan
3,490(3%)

Sen. Rand Paul
5,160(5%)

Gov. Rick Perry
2,340(2%)

Gov. Sarah Palin
5,566(5%)

Gov. Scott Walker
2,205(2%)

Sen. Ted Cruz [not qualified to run born in Canada of Cuban parents]
25,545(26%)

These polls indicate the voters do not want the elite "the elite" is trying to shove down our throats! They want fresh honest. moral candidates that are not a part of or owned by the ruling establishment!
Willis Pebble
12:26AM MAY 18TH 2014
If she is favored by John Thrasher and Jeb Bush Then I 'm against her
those aggressive-compassionate conservatives
7:41AM MAY 8TH 2014
Guess JEB didn't think Blaise Ingoglia could face the scrutiny what with all his secret history. One thing for sure when Jeb gets Leslie Dougher in as Chair of the RPOF they won't be challenging his common Core anymore.

Since Leslie Dougher is from Clay County why doesn't she address the fact that her fellow Clay countian (and honorable former Clay County Clerk of the Circuit Court) Jim Jett - when he was running against Cliff Sterns says he was offered bribes by Jeb Bush's former Sec of Ed (and now) Charter School movement man Jim Horne and Mr. Sapp?

Jim Jett says the FBI even recorded the bribery attempts and he has been forced to sue the FBI to prove that. Why? Because someone pulled the FBI off the case!

Too bad the real Republican's on the ground don't run the Republican Party of Florida! If we did maybe we could elect someone like Jim Jett and put a little honesty back in the Grand Old Party. Right now it's just a like a closed union shop for the culture of corruption that runs this state.

Hey Jim Greer is getting out of the "walled off" pretty soon and his book is coming out - maybe we should re-elect him after all the only difference between Jim Greer and the rest of these crooks is "the caught and the uncaught!"

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