Sam Rashid, a Tampa Bay area businessman and major donor to Republican causes, argues Blaise Ingoglia more “in touch” than any State GOP Chairman prior.
By Jacob Engels
Earlier this week, Politico Florida’s Marc Caputo reported on a press release from the Ron DeSantis for Senate campaign’s announcement that it had hired Brad Herold as campaign manager. Herold previously served as the Executive Director for the Republican Party of Florida, being appointed after State Representative Blaise Ingoglia’s upset defeat of incumbent Chairwoman Leslie Jennings Dougher.
The next day, Politico Florida also broke the story that longtime RPOF Chief Financial Officer Richard Swarttz was being let go. The report characterized the departure of Herold, Swarttz, and possibly others as a “massacre”.
“Our party continues to be debt free, hold a cash on hand advantage over the Florida Democrats while holding significant digital, data and field operational advantages as well,” Ingoglia said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times following the write-ups from Politico Florida.
According to a Republican operative who has had close ties to the state party through several chairmanships, the “rumors of demise” are not accurate observations.
“Whomever is spreading those tall tales gleaned a little to much from Dante’s ninth circle, it’s pure treachery and works to elect not one single Republican.
Leaders make tough decisions. (Blaise) started his Chairmanship behind the eight-ball, the insiders never wanted him to win. The Governor, Senate leaders, and their allies took their toys and left the sandbox.
Yet, he managed to get every single GOP presidential candidate to Florida for the Sunshine Summit, which was a huge success and posted healthy fundraising numbers that are quite impressive. “
The operative continued by pointing to the fact that the RPOF under Ingolgia’s leadership has hired a bilingual Communications Director, and has made the strongest effort of any statewide GOP in the nation to attract voters that don’t normally vote for Republicans.
They also cited the Sunshine Summit’s minority outreach forum that featured Hispanic State Representatives Bob Cortes, Rene Plasencia, and noted African American Republican rock-star Chelsi P. Henry. It was hosted by a host from Telemundo.
“The party has focused very smartly on expanding our social media presence, minority outreach efforts, building a primo field program, and securing important data to help us win in 2016.”
Republican megadonor Sam Rashid, who has advised Republican Governors Jeb Bush and Rick Scott, said Blaise started with “a tough road to hoe.” Rashid has served on the boards of Workforce Florida, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, and Alzheimer’s Research Authority.
“Senate and House leaders had agreed in principle to support Blaise after his election, and they need to move towards that goal.
I think Blaise is a new breed of Chair…he is more in touch with the grassroots voters of this state than, I believe, any Chair prior to him has been.”
Rashid went on to explain that the main job of the RPOF Chairman is to turn out the vote, and the secondary goal is to hold leaders accountable for turning in the money. A former staffer for the Republican Party of Florida, who asked to remain anonymous, said that his contemporaries should be focused on their own jobs.
“Blaise has had to deal with several special sessions, a Governor and Senate leadership who are not doing what they need to in order to provide financial support. This is a team effort.”
Megadonor Rashid still firmly believes that Ingolgia will do “very well” in turning out the vote.
“He got $10,000 from me, so obviously he is doing pretty good. However, he needs leadership to lend financial support to be immensely successful.”
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org