Rick Perry Staffs Up in Southeast Florida
Around the State
With Florida looming large as the fourth state lined up to decide the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas announced on Thursday his campaign team for the southeastern part of the Sunshine State.
"I'm honored to have the support of these equipped, principled leaders who will be instrumental in bringing my vision to get America working again to Southeast Florida," Perry said in a statement. "With their help, we will reverse the failed policies of the Obama administration and get our nation back on a path to prosperity."
Perry turned to four well-established Republican leaders to build his campaign in Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo, who also served in the Florida House and on the Hialeah City Council, will lead the Perry team in the county. Bovo will be aided by three county co-chairs: Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who advised John McCain’s presidential campaign on Hispanic outreach; Roly Marante, who was the county executive director of Jeb Bush’s 1998 gubernatorial campaign; and Jorge Luis Lopez, a member of the Republican National Committee's Council of 100 and long-time supporter of both George W. Bush and Jeb Bush.
In Palm Beach County, Perry tapped Beth Kigel to lead his campaign. Kigel served in the same role for both McCain and Rick Scott’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Kigel also was a regional co-chair of then-Attorney General Bill McCollum’s bid to defeat Scott for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Kigel will be helped by GOP activists Linda Gore, Ira Sabin and Michael Barnett and former Young Republican leader Jackie Fay, who also helped Pam Bondi’s successful attorney general campaign in 2010.
County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, a former chairman of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, will be leading the Perry team in Broward County. LaMarca will be aided by former Broward County Commissioner Kevin Tynan, Coral Springs City Commissioner Vince Boccard, Republican activist Joe Eikenberg, Gregg Sjoquist, and Greg Aguirre who was the executive director for small business at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and part of Marco Rubio’s team in 2010.
Republican activist Shanna Jones will lead the Perry campaign in St. Lucie County while Sal Rizzotti, who is active with the county GOP, will take the reins in Martin County.
Despite high hopes for his campaign in Florida when he announced his presidential bid back in August, Perry has been eclipsed in the Sunshine State by businessman Herman Cain, who beat him in the Presidency 5 straw poll last month in Orlando, as the chief conservative alternative to former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
A CNN/Time poll of Florida Republicans released on Wednesday found Romney leading in Florida with 30 percent followed by Cain with 18 percent. Perry stands in tie for third place with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia with 9 percent apiece.
The poll of 401 Republican voters in Florida was taken from Oct. 20-25 and had a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.