Florida’s Republican Party, RPOF, has its bi-annual election for Chairmanship this weekend in Orlando. This race embodies the struggles within the Republican Party on the national scene. A tug-o-war of entities striving to define the GOP. Evidence of this battle has been demonstrated most recently in the election of the Speaker of the House.
Key in national politics, Florida has demonstrated itself to be a pivotal factor in national politics. Leadership of the GOP is critical as we approach the Presidential and Senatorial elections in 2016.
Incumbent Chairwoman Leslie Dougher has been at the helm of RPOF after Lenny Curry resigned to run for Mayor of Jacksonville. She actively reached out to the local parties throughout the state campaigning successfully for Gov. Rick Scott. She, also, has the endorsement of Gov. Scott for her re-election bid.
State Representative Blaise Ingoglia, current Vice Chair of RPOF, is challenging Chairwoman Dougher. He won his election in November for Florida State Rep. Disctrict 35. Rep. Ingoglia became well-known to RECs around the state with his “Government Gone Wild” presentation back in 2011. His conservative role will be greatly appreciated in Florida’s legislature.
Kurt Kelly, State Committeeman for Marion County and former State Rep. District 24 from 2006-10, is another challenger who brings many leadership qualities to the equation.
Eric Miller, State Committeeman for Martin County, has made it clear that he will reach out to various Tea Party groups, grassroots organizations, and independent groups to be sure their voices are heard within the political landscape. Committeeman Miller challenged Chairwoman Dougher in the May RPOF Quarterly meeting as Chairman Curry resigned. She won 106-69.
Strong leadership is critical in this election cycle, as in every election cycle. The decision needs to be made on who can deliver a well-organized, extremely functional grassroots organization that will yield the highest return of Florida voters in 2016. With the leadership of Chairwoman Dougher in the last critical months of the election cycle, we have seen the re-election of our Governor and Cabinet.
One of battlefronts the Republicans have had to face in the national dialogue is the “War on Women.” The Republican Party has great women to lead the discussion on this particular issue, RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day and Chairwoman Leslie Dougher. Driving the debate on behalf of the Democrat Party is DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, FL CD-23. The women voters are a critical voting block that has not as effectively been reached by the Republican Party. To build that specific outreach will be essential in the next two years for a successful win in 2016. Women can be the most effective in communicating to other women.
GOP leadership in Florida has a choice this weekend. Let us hope they decide to continue with the successful leadership already in place.