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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Not so fast on that Rick Scott -- Florida GOP truce



When activists with the Republican Party of Florida gathered in Orlando for the annual meeting Saturday, the crowd was thrilled when Scott Hopes, a Rick Scott appointee to the state party, gave the governor's report which included a run-down of Rick Scott accomplishments and concluded with talk of a truce. Remember, Scott stopped having much to do with the Florida GOP -- most importantly raising money for it -- since a year ago, when party activists snubbed him and elected Blaise Ingoglia their party chairman rather than Scott's endorsed candidate, Leslie Dougher.

We were not present, but Scott Powers reported:

“Governor Scott’s agenda is the party’s agenda, and the party’s agenda is the governor’s agenda,” Scott Hopes, a medical services executive who is a Scott designee to the party, told the RPOF general meeting.

He offered more, an end to outright competition for Republican contributions. In the past year, Scott’s fundraising efforts have focused on his own Let’s Get To Work committee rather than the party.

“We are calling on all Republicans across the state to unify for the cause, including raising money for the party,” Hopes said. “Mr. Chairman, we look forward to helping you raise money for the party."

This would be great news for the cash-strapped state party --  except that we're told Hopes' comments took Gov. Scott and his staff by surprise. Hopes, a health care executive who serves of the USF board of trustees, goes way back with the governor but in this case seems to have exaggerated the governor's enthusiasm for making nice with the party. The governor does not intend to start raising money for the party, not without the ability to control how the money is spent.

Behind closed doors in the party's executive session, treasurer Jeff Howell spoke for at least 30 minutes  about Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, saying among other things, that Ingoglia was taking credit for cost-savings ideas that were actually recommendations for the party's recently laid-off CFO Richard Swarttz. National Committeeman Peter Feaman made a motion to extend Swarttz's severance pay, but Ingoglia shut that idea down.


[Last modified: Sunday, January 24, 2016 8:49pm]


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