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Blaise Ingoglia doubles down, won’t resign and calls for GOP unity

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RPOF Chair Blaise Ingoglia has had enough of the baseless rumors and intense pressure from outside interests.

And no, he will not be stepping down.

Tired of accusations he masterminded an attempted coup over the future House Speakership of Eric Eisnaugle, the freshmen lawmaker responded today with an extensive, passionate email where he steadfastly denies any attempted coup against Eisnaugle. The Orlando Republican is set to assume the Speakership in 2021-2022.

In the letter obtained by FloridaPolitics.com, Ingoglia responds to an earlier email from Orange County Republican Party Chairman Lew Oliver, who launched accusations last week of legislative leaders pressuring four House members districts vulnerable to Democrats in 2016 (three in Orange County) to de-commit to Eisnaugle for Speaker.

“I am not leading and have not orchestrated a ‘coup’ as you describe,” Ingoglia’s letter reads. “What I have done is add my voice and support to nearly half of the freshman class in their courageous efforts at reforming the flawed process by which special interests, lobbyists and consultants choose our future leaders before they even get elected.”

Ingoglia then doubles down on his responsibilities as both a state lawmaker and RPOF chair, re-declaring his commitment for fiscal responsibility in the Party and support for Republican candidates in state and local elections.

“Please know that since I have been elected Chairman,” he writes. “I have not taken a dime in salary so the RPOF can have the resources needed to win elections, especially key municipal races such as the Jacksonville mayor’s race and over $15,000 the RPOF spent in the Winter Park mayoral race to help elect Steve Leary in March in your own county.”

Ingoglia calls Oliver’s actions an attempt to “drag the party into a fight it has no place” and harming party morale. He also unwaveringly refuses to resign.

“If you feel this issue rises to the level of committee discussion,” he continues, “I’m happy to have that discussion at a closed session of the RPOF Executive Board during our May meeting.

Ingoglia concludes by calling for unity, particularly in the upcoming presidential election cycle.

“To the rest of the members of the committee: You elected me in January, while under intense pressure from outside interests, for this exact reason. These types of emails have been commonplace in the past and sometimes even encouraged by members of our committee trying to subvert our main mission of getting Republicans elected.

“We need to be working together to ensure we’re building a foundation for victory in 2016, not trying to tear each other down.”

The full text of Ingoglia’s letter is here:

Lew,

After spending the last week reading the back and forth emails you have sent to the entire committee, and after your refusal to return my phone calls, I can no longer sit back silently while you engage in using the state party email list and the media to launch unsubstantiated attacks. I have thus far resisted the urge to reply to these rumors, insinuations and false accusations in the interest of all involved, including those launching those accusations.

Reform is a difficult task and this isn’t the first time that I have endured criticism in my efforts to combat a pervasive status quo. However, these accusations have now reached a level of hysteria that requires a response. The following is factual information that can easily be confirmed by anyone with an honest interest in arriving at the truth.

I am not leading and have not orchestrated a “coup” as you describe. What I have done is add my voice and support to nearly half of the freshman class in their courageous efforts at reforming the flawed process by which special interests, lobbyists and consultants choose our future leaders before they even get elected. This process also seeks to silence critical voices by using our most principled trait within, our word, as shackles to hold them captive.

Nearly half of the members of the freshman class have declared their independence from this flawed process. While standing with them has brought me some attention in the press, I will continue to stand with them on principle. Having said that, this is an internal caucus matter and an internal conversation that is being held among 19 freshmen. I ask you that respectfully stop interjecting yourself and dragging the RPOF into internal Florida House matters.

I have not, nor have any other of the nearly half the members that declared our independence, have put our names forward as an alternative for Speaker. That would contradict the very reform we are currently fighting for.

Nobody has been coerced or threatened as you state with the “vulnerability” of their seats in upcoming elections. This fact was clear in one of the public statements by one of the members and confirmed by two others that were “allegedly” threatened.

I also want to make it clear that my job as State Representative has not, and will not, have any conflict with my role as Chairman of the RPOF. I have been laser focused on winning elections for all Republicans since the day I took over. We have worked extremely hard creating the infrastructure needed to deliver our 29 electoral votes to our Republican nominee for President. I have kept my campaign promise and reformed our quarterly meetings. We have expanded our digital footprint in the state and in one week reached an RPOF record of 6 million people online organically. And, contrary to your assertion that we are “largely broke”, our Party raised more than $5.5 million in the first quarter into the state fund which is nearly $3 million more than the Florida Democrat Party. We have also saved a lot of money by eliminating excessive consulting contracts and other overhead.

Finally, for years I have consistently put the Republican Party over and above any personal goals and will continue to do so. You state that in your email that “we should not be paying him a six-figure salary…and we should not tolerate a Chairman (that) is not unconditionally committed” to the Republican cause. Please know that since I have been elected Chairman I have not taken a dime in salary so the RPOF can have the resources needed to win elections, especially key municipal races such as the Jacksonville mayor’s race and over $15,000 the RPOF spent in the Winter Park mayoral race to help elect Steve Leary in March in your own county.

That sounds like unconditional commitment to me.

I understand your proximity to this issue heightens your passion for it, but your actions of spreading baseless rumors to try and drag the party into a fight it has no place being in, have caused harm to party morale. If you feel this issue rises to the level of committee discussion, I’m happy to have that discussion at a closed session of the RPOF Executive Board during our May meeting.

To the rest of the members of the committee: You elected me in January, while under intense pressure from outside interests, for this exact reason. These types of emails have been commonplace in the past and sometimes even encouraged by members of our committee trying to subvert our main mission of getting Republicans elected. We need to be working together to ensure we’re building a foundation for victory in 2016, not trying to tear each other down.

As always, I remain available to all of you if you have questions or concerns about anything. Please feel free to reach out to me in person.

Respectfully,

Blaise

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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