From the Not News Dep’t: Ashley Ross wasn’t fired

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Yesterday, at the end of our story about state Sen. Jack Latvala hiring uber fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke to raise money for his political committee, we noted that Ashley Ross had gone to work for Latvala’s rival, Sen. Joe Negron.

Concurrent with our story, rumors circulated that Ross had been fired from the Republican Party of Florida by Senate President Andy Gardiner. That’s because an abrupt memo released by Gardiner read as if he had.

“Please be advised that effective immediately Ashley Ross is no longer employed by Senate Campaigns,” reads the memo. “We appreciate her service to our caucus and the successes we have achieved.”

Reading that, it’s understandable that some people thought Ross had been fired.

Except she hadn’t. In fact, she probably made the smart play signing up with Negron.

These are weird times for the RPOF. Governor Rick Scott still isn’t really interacting with the party. The Senate campaign arm is still severed from the RPOF. And it’s still not clear who — Latvala or Negron — will be directing Senate campaigns for 2016.

Ross, like many consultants and staffers, found herself caught between a rock and a hard place. So she went to work for Negron, who probably will eventually edge out Latvala (as a Pinellas guy that’s difficult for me to write, but it’s true).

So if and when Negron is officially the Senate president designate, he’ll just install Ross right back where she was — if she wants to. Remember, she’s already worked for four Senate presidents. It’s almost unheard of for someone to remain at the RPOF as long as Ross has.

Bottom line: Ashley Ross has been and will be in charge of her own destiny. She wasn’t fired. Rather she made a smart, if cautiously risky, move.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.