Mitch Perry Report for 12.5.14 – Why isn’t the RPOF chair debate open to the media?

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There are four people running to be the next chairman of the Republican Party of Florida this weekend — though it’s not an open seat. There’s the current chair, Leslie Dougher. She’s being challenged by Eric Miller, state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, and former state Rep. Kurt Kelly.

Those candidates are scheduled to sit down and debate their merits today in Tampa, though as I write this I’m still uncertain whether the RPOF will allow the media to cover this. Why they wouldn’t is uncertain.

It would be interesting to hear the challengers to Dougher explain why they could bring the party to greater heights, because frankly, I’m not certain that’s possible.

The Republican Party of Florida dominates state politics more than they ever have. They’ve got a royal flush in the state Cabinet and their numbers in the state Legislature dwarf that of the Democrats. Getting Rick Scott re-elected was never a sure thing, either  (abetted by the Democrats own problems, sure, but still). But there is 2016, a presidential election year. This state has gone for a Democrat the past two election cycles, so whoever the new chair is has to prepare for that, obviously.

But it seems to me that if ain’t broken, why would you try to fix it?

Now if we’re talking Allison Tant, I could see why there might be a real debate….

In other news….

The Pinellas Democratic Executive Committee has a new chair: Welcome Susan McGrath, who defeated incumbent Mark Hanisee last night in what had become an increasingly bitter campaign.

The transformation of the downtown Tampa area near Channelside became a little clearer yesterday after the USF Board of Trustees unanimously approved the plan to put a medical center in the urban core of Tampa. 

The campaign to get a raise for fast-food workers in America had another major event yesterday, as those workers protested for a $15 living wage in locations across the country, including in St. Pete and Tampa.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at