State Representative Blaise Ingoglia was elected the new Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida this morning at the party’s annual meeting in Orlando, defeating 3 other candidates including an incumbent endorsed by Governor Rick Scott.
Ingoglia took the majority of the votes over Leslie Dougher on the second ballot. Former State Rep Kurt Kelly, and grassroots favorite Eric Miller. Miller told his supporters to vote for Ingoglia after himself and Kelly were eliminated after the first ballot. The final margin of victory for Ingoglia was 132 to 90.
A major sub-plot in the race, was Rick Scott’s endorsement of Dougher. Coming off of a successful 2014 effort, there were concerns over how the party was operating and whether all of the members had a voice in the process. Even the race for chair itself was bogged down by the assignment of voting members by the Governor and debate rules and procedures. Today’s upset victory by Ingoglia, will be viewed by many as a loss for Scott, and could foreshadow a tough year for the Governor as he tries to advance a hefty budget for this legislative session.
Ingoglia is now charged with preparing Florida Republicans for a 2016 election cycle, that will be the biggest the nation has ever seen, that could feature two prominent Floridians. Former Governor Jeb Bush is exploring a run for the White House, Senator Marco Rubio has also not ruled out a run of his own.
*This is a developing story. Check back for updates*