Speculation Buzzing on Lenny Curry's Replacement

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: May 3, 2014 3:55 AM
Leslie Dougher, Lenny Curry, Will Weatherford

Leslie Dougher, Lenny Curry, Will Weatherford

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry announced Thursday he’ll be packing up his things from his office in Tallahassee and heading to Jacksonville to possibly run for mayor, and insiders are already speculating about who will be taking his place.

The next chair will be chosen during a special election held at the party’s next meeting on May 31, when the 256 members of the State Executive Committee will meet and eventually vote on Curry’s replacement.

The committee consists of Republican Party county chairs from the 67 counties across the state as well as an elected committeeman and committeewoman from each county. The Cabinet and the governor are also committee members and the remainder of the State Executive Committee consists of a block of appointments made by the House speaker, the Senate president, and the governor.

While no one has officially announced their candidacy, it hasn’t stopped insiders from speculating who may have their eyes on the position.

Rising to the top of the list of potential nominees is Leslie Dougher, who has served as Clay County Republican Party chairwoman since 2009. Dougher, a Realtor, admits it was President Ronald Reagan who further fueled her interest in “politics, community and the world around her, and inspired her to roll up her sleeves and get to work.”

In addition to her duties as chairwoman, Dougher also served as chairwoman for Women for McCain-Palin, Scott-Carroll chairman as well as Romney-Ryan chairman for Clay County.

Republican strategists say Dougher is seen as the most even-keeled and respected candidate and contend she also has a great leadership capacity within the party. She could also be a prime asset for Rick Scott’s campaign with the potential to help the governor raise cash for his re-election campaign.

Peter Feaman is another possible contender for the position. Feaman, a litigation attorney, was elected as the Republican national committeeman from Florida in January 2012. He’s also served as Palm Beach County state committeeman, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida committeemen and women’s caucus, and holds a position on the Republican Party of Florida executive board.

House Speaker Will Weatherford’s name has also been tossed around to replace Curry. Several prominent state Republicans say Weatherford’s got what it takes to be a dynamic party chair and could easily take the reins of the RPOF. If he runs for the position, he could be hard to beat. 

“No one in the state could do a better job than Will Weatherford,” Bill Bunting, former chairman of the Pasco County Republican Executive Committee, told Scripps reporter Matt Dixon. “He can fundraise, he is well-respected and well-connected.”

Two other names on the list of potential replacements -- RPOF Vice Chair Blaise Ingoglia and Sarasota GOP Chief Joe Gruters -- have already made it clear they have no intention of running for the position.

Ingoglia has quite a few plans for 2014, but running for party chair doesn’t seem to be one of them.

“I will continue to run an effective campaign to be the next state representative from District 35, serving the people of Hernando County,” Ingoglia wrote in a statement released Thursday evening.

Gruters doesn’t have any interest in being the chair right now, but did say he was interested in running next year.

“While I intend to run for a full term as RPOF chairman in January of 2015, I will not be running in May,” Gruters told blogger Peter Schorsch on Thursday.

The committee meets May 31 in Tampa.

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

Comments (7)

Willis Pebble
12:23AM MAY 16TH 2014
The Republicans need to find someone who can bring the grass root back into the party. That means someone who will not be Jeb Bush's lapdog. Someone who will give republicans a reason to go to the polls. Someone who will stand against common core, against crony capitalism, and for our children and their parents.
6:42AM MAY 5TH 2014
We need some adult to come forward and save the party from Jeb Bush. Sadly, that will probably not happen.
10:12AM MAY 4TH 2014
RC you know of what you speak. Jeb Bush don't give a rat's behind about which party they belong too as long as he can control them. He and his cronies supported a Democrat for State Attorney in the panhandle and he appointed Deborah Nelson a Democrat and Texas friend who like Jeb Bush relocated from Texas to Florida to serve their cause. (she was the George Zimmerman judge)

Anyone who is to dumb to see Jeb Bush (and family dymasty) is working with Obama to federalize US Education with their Common Core is more blind than Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder!

Hollingsworth is like that Tax Collector (Bob McKee) down in Lake County in Central Florida that lied about his masters degree and really doesn't even have a high school diploma - that along with three different dates of birth he used to get a part-time coaching certificate from the FDOE.

Let no one forget Rick Scott relocated from Dallas Tx law firm of Johnson & Swanson where he was a George W. Bush & Tom Hicks and Richard Rainwater lawyer and partner! He relocated to Florida when Jeb Buish's friend and co-conspirator Miguel Recarey got caught in the Medicare Fraud Scheme that Jeb (with his DC phone calls helped him set up) Rick Scott and Richard Rainwater picked up those hospitals and in place Medicare Fraud schemes and along with Jeb's help they all made miillions - some of which Jeb and Rick Scott used to buy Rick Scott the governor's mansion.
10:04PM MAY 3RD 2014
If Rick Scott inserts himself here, he will be making a monumental mistake that will probably cost his is seat. Leslie Dougher is a divisive, anti tea party and anti conservative acolyte of Jeb Bush. She has inserted herself in the business of several REC's protoing the adoption of illegal rul changes designed only to exclude the party's base. Her election will cause the base that elected Risk Scott to sit this one out and we will lose Florida to Charlie Crist./ Jeb Bush would be happy with Crist, he could control him in a way the ha cannot control Rick Scott. Adam Hollingsworth is a traitor to Rick Scott, he should be fired.
10:29AM MAY 4TH 2014
Fromt he outside looking in it looks like Jeb Bush is doing a pretty good job controlling Rick Scott. After all It was Rick Scott and his wife that traveled to Coral Gables (Jeb's home town) and met with Carlos Lopez-Cantera Jeb's main man who he pushed in 2004 for State Rep and Rick Scott chose him as his new Lt Governor and 2014 running mate. Like his cousin Raoul Cantero III Jeb appointed to the Fl Supree Ct - both Cuban dissent and born in Spain - Raoul Cantero III admits he is former Cuban dictator Batista's grandson. Jeb has been pushing this friends of his hard lately. Cantero III resigned from the Ct and is now representing the Fl legislature regarding their and Jeb's redistricting schemes. Yea! They are pulling out all the stops and "moving forward for Jeb" now that Obama has made another Bush not look so bad after all.
8:40AM MAY 3RD 2014
“Funny how a woman can languish for years in the House, then go to the Senate and shine. Same woman, different side of the building."

"The House does pick a token woman to favor year after year. But in the end, when the boys get together, they make sure the plums stay locked up in the club safe.”

So, the question is will the boys allow this “rising to the top of the list of potential RPOF Chair nominee Leslie Dougher, who has served as Clay County Republican Party chairwoman since 2009. Dougher, a Realtor, who admits it was President Ronald Reagan who further fueled her interest in “politics, community and the world around her, and inspired her to roll up her sleeves and get to work' to be elected RPOF Chair?

Can’t help but wonder if she happened to notice how President Ronald Reagan’s VP was always looking over his shoulder? And what about that VP and his boys and the Iran-Contra guns for drugs thing? No one mentioned what she done with her allegiance to Ronald Reagan and how and or whether or not that allegiance is on the left side or the right side of the Republican Party. "They" own 100% of the Democrats and around 50% of the Republican Party!

Which as everyone with brains knows has a wide split right down the middle.

Since Dougher has served as Clay County Republican Party chairwoman since 2009. What did she think about the factual disclosure by former Clay County Clerk of the Circuit Court Jim Jett that Jim Horne and Clay County business man Mr. Sapp had attempted to bribe Jim Jett to drop out of the race against congressman Cliff Sterns? And the fact that Mr. Jett reported the FBI had set up a sting for him to further tape record their bribery actions and then suddenly withdrew from those actions when they found out Speaker Boehner was coming to town?
No! If this lady is not corruptible “the boys will not want her running the Republican Party of Florida. They would probably just as soon have Jim Greer back after he helps them crucify Charlie Crist with his upcoming book! Wonder how he can do that and leave all the boys out? You know all the names! Fact is Jim Jett has been forced to sue the FBI to prove they backed out on him and covered up their original intentions!

And,about this RPOF Vice Chair Blaise Ingoglia, if Leslie Dougher is a Realtor and if she is honest and not corruptible and if she has done any background investigations on this “Ingoglia dude” she wouldn’t want to be in the same room with this dude – let alone him being her Vice Chair!
11:10AM MAY 3RD 2014
Golly-gosh! If there is as much backroom dealing and backstabbing by "the boys" as implied here, then I think the real solution is to bring some of these political functions out of backrooms and on to the internet, where everyone can see what's going on. That might help. I hope.

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