RPOF Chooses Leslie Dougher As Party Chair

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: May 31, 2014 12:00 PM
Leslie Dougher

Leslie Dougher

It's official: Leslie Dougher will be replacing Lenny Curry as the new chair of the Republican Party of Florida. Dougher was elected to the position by a vote of 106-69 at the party's quarterly meeting on Saturday in Tampa.

Over 170 members of the State Executive Committee cast their votes for Curry’s replacement. Curry, who became chair in September 2011, resigned at the end of April to possibly pursue a mayoral bid in Jacksonville.

Dougher, a real estate agent who serves as the chair of the RPOF's chairman caucus, was widely speculated to be a front-runner for the position. Republican insiders told Sunshine State News earlier this week that the Clay County GOP chairwoman was virtually a shoe-in to take over as chair.

But her nomination did not go unopposed. Martin County GOP Chair Eric Miller was also nominated for chair. Insiders speculated that the Martin County GOP would be a hotspot for opposition to Dougher’s nomination, which ultimately proved true at Saturday’s meeting.

Former state representative and Manatee County State Committeewoman Peggy Simone told Sunshine State News that while she’s not against Dougher, she thinks Miller could have offered more to the party.

“I just think [Eric] would bring more to the office … business experience and possibly political experience than Leslie has,” she said.

Lake County State Committeewoman Patricia Sullivan said she thinks the votes for Miller symbolize a real need to get back in touch with certain Republican voters.

“I think a lot of people recognize that to re-engage those Republican voters who sat out in the last presidential election ... that we have to show them that the RPOF is going to be a voice of the people,” she told SSN. “Those 69 votes, that’s from the bottom up."

Dougher reeled in support from high-profile party members, including House Speaker Will Weatherford and Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, both of whom voiced their approval for Dougher early on in the process.

Thrasher, who nominated Dougher, said she’d be a good candidate to take the party forward in the coming months.

“She will be a good steward of the Republican Party of Florida for the next four months,” he said.

Despite the close vote between the two candidates, the party seemed mostly focused on one priority: getting Gov. Rick Scott re-elected in November.

“What matters today is that we have a smooth transition,” Curry told attendees at the meeting, adding that even as he “moves on,” re-electing the governor would remain his first priority.

Dougher's term will run to January 2015.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at Allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen

Comments (8)

COL (Ret) Chuck Winn
9:54PM MAY 31ST 2014
I congratulate our new RPOF Chairman Leslie Dougher and wish her well. However, I am very proud of my fellow Airborne Infantryman and Martin Co. State Committeeman Eric Miller, who was nominated from the floor and drew 39% of the vote! Eric is a strong Constitutional Conservative who has done an outstanding job mobilizing opposition to Common Core, All Aboard Florida, and Seven 50. He has been unstinting in calling for acountability of our GOP elected officials to our principals. Let us hope the RPOF establishment takes notice.
8:12AM JUN 2ND 2014
Your comment about accountability hits the nail on the head. It is most unfortunate that those who selected Ms. Dougher seemed more interested in avoiding accountability and, instead, picked a party loyalist whose knowledge in the REAL party politics is severly lacking and will simply fall in line just like a good soldier. Our party continues to spiral downwards.
the truth is
12:04PM JUN 1ST 2014
Yea col and that is why Eric did not get anointed!

He dared to stand up against Prince Jeb and his Common core movement.

State Senator Mike Fasano dared to stand up against their prison privatization schemes and Rick Scott got him out of the legislature.

He appointed him the Pasco County Tax Collector and made that thorn in their sides go away.

Leslie Dougher was appointed because they can control her. Jim Greer went to jail because they con not control him.

If you think his little stealing scams was the problem you need a course in Florida Corruption 101.
11:19AM JUN 1ST 2014
Sounds like the RPOF is the same-old-same-old. Miller would have been the better choice, but the RPOF, just like tr GOP, is hellbent on staying Republican-patsy to the end. I am a Republican, but it will take so much more for me to vite for Rick Scott again. It's more than just WINNING an election to maintain status quo. We've been there for decades now and true conservatives are as sick of the GOP as the DNC ! Rick Scott, btw, arrested a sheriff in Florida and had him removed from office UNLAWFULLY. What does that say about Scott's belief about simple citizen 4th Amendment rights. Only our conservative legislature (both Republican & Democrat) has kept us safe from a government police state as many of the states around the country presently have. A simple grand jury inquiry of Sheriff Nick Finch (Liberty County) would have stopped te unlawful removal of a constitutional officer, properly elected by his constituents. Then Scott allowed the state attorney to rape his family of their dugnity and income for 5 months. Unfortunately, I must leave the GOP this year, and maybe permanently, and vote for Adrian Wyllie. He is the only conservative who will run Florida FOR THE PEOPLE. Wyllie was at Finch's trial advocating for him (not politicizing - did not even discuss his campaign for governor). Finch was reinstated after the "trial" if you call it that. It was a kangaroo court where not ine legitimate charge should have been brought against Finch. The jury saw through it instantly. Not one piece of evidence was brought against the Sheriff. That's the GOP Governor Scott for you at his "best." Not for me - no thank you. And it was not just what our GOP Governor did to Finch alone, but I am just generally irritated at the GOP for playing politics instead of actually doing the RIGHT THING all the time, for the RIGHT REASON !!
the truth is
11:59AM JUN 1ST 2014
Jeb Bush is pulling not only Rick Scott's strings but most of the rest of them, at least the top legislators. Just look at the redistricting fraud trial. How do you the FBI got run out of town when Jim Jett had them here investigating Jeb Bush's henchman Jim Horne and some Clay county businessman names Sapp for trying to bride Jim Jett off the ticket against Cliff Stearns? "They" create all the buzz words and the anti-buzz words so the people are attacked for calling them what they really are "NAZI's" These bush's have been Nazi's for generations. Prescott Bush even financed Hitler's rise to power and his war machine that was killing our "BOYS" as they called them back then!

Rick Scott took out Sheriff Finch alright, but he had to reinstate him after the people got the case at trial.

But, Rick Scott won't take out the Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders who tons of evidence proves was having jail inmates delivered to his office for homo sex. And evidence proves he and his powerfully connected friends run a pedophile ranch (Green isle Boys Ranch) in Lake county for 20 years where he covered up the sex abuse against boys as young as 9 years old!

And, Rick Scott knows the Lake County Tax collector has lied about his DD 214; his High School and every other diploma he has p[resented for government employment and used at least four different dates of birth over the last 40 years on government applications in an attempt to hide a felony conviction in the State of New York. He even has enough DUI's to qualify him as a felon!

But that's alright because he's in the same mob as Rick Scott and Jeb Bush. Why he even calls himself the godfather and tells people he is untouchable.

Well guess he is right with organized criminals like Rick Scott and Jeb Bush at the helm of Florida's culture of corruption he don;t have one thing to worry about. It's only the honest people they take out of office and/ or prosecute to destroy their lives!
5:18PM MAY 31ST 2014
Dougher is a hack who does not know the rules (why she was picked) and she will never be elected to a full term in January and that wouldbe a good theing. She will ramp up the war on conservatives.
12:36PM MAY 31ST 2014
Leslie Doolittle was expected to get the very high paying job, proving once again how little the Republican Party cares about its members! Why not begin a completely new program of hiring by allowing ALL members to vote yea or nay rather than just political hacks hiring someone to this position?
The fact that Thrasher and Weatherford only provides more fodder for political insiders, and outsiders!
Another strong reason voters are bailing to the Democratic Party!
Albert J. Shalhoub
1:35PM MAY 31ST 2014
People are going independent, from both parties. We the Republicans fight among ourselves an the Democrates just screw up an people are seeing that.
I hope Ms. Doolittle will get our party to be more agressive an stand up to the bad policies of the Democrates.

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