Long influential in the Hillsborough County Republican Party, and its chairwoman for nearly 20 years, Margie Kincaid died Wednesday.
She died with friends present at 4:45 p.m. in the Palm Garden of Pinellas nursing home in Largo, according to a statement from the county's Republican Party. She was 88.
Mrs. Kincaid led the county GOP from 1984 to 2003, when she was removed by state party leaders on allegations of financial impropriety.
She had succeeded her husband, Bill Kincaid, the former GOP chairman who left his post to focus on his family's brick business in the mid 1980s.
He passed away in 2001. The couple never had children.
During her tenure, she was credited by party members with opening the doors of the GOP to minority groups and other non-traditional Republicans — as well as growing the party's influence in a time when Democrats dominated local and state politics.
"She was so tenacious and so dogmatic that she really was just fierce about trying to build the Republican Party," said Mark Proctor, who served as Mrs. Kincaid's communications director for many years.
From her and her husband's offer of "the Little White House" that served as the party headquarters for years, to her commitment to growing the party, Mrs. Kincaid helped Republicans gain a foothold in Hillsborough, the GOP political consultant explained.
"That was their kid," Proctor said. "That was their family."
Mrs. Kincaid vehemently denied the allegations that led to her removal as the party's county chairwoman, which centered on sales tax payments for the party's offices and placement of funds donated in honor of her late husband.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.