Nick DiCeglie elected new chair of Pinellas GOP

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The Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee has a new chair. Former Vice Chair Nick DiCeglie won by a supermajority vote to replace Michael Guju as the PCREC chair effective immediately. Guju did not run for re-election.

DiCeglie has owned the waste management company Solar Sanitation since 1996 after growing up in the business. He sits on several other boards throughout the county, including the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, Indian Rocks Beach Planning and Zoning board and Leadership Pinellas.

“As your chairman I will always conduct myself with honesty, integrity and hard work,” DeCeglie said Monday night after the vote at Twisted Martini on Ulmerton Road. “That is something I learned when I was probably 2 years old from my parents.”

DiCeglie said he hopes to bring a fresh set of eyes to the committee and plans to boost membership and fundraising. He wants to build a better bench and focus on more Republican voter registration and turnout. His ultimate eye is on 2016, noting that Republicans need to not just take back the White House, but maintain a supermajority in Tallahassee and win back the Pinellas County Commission, which the party lost when Democrat Pat Gerard defeated Ed Hooper for he seat in November.

“The goal is to build a party that can do it all when it comes to elections; when it comes to the fight of turning our country around,” he said, noting that the Obama administration has failed the party’s principles on topics like immigration and health care.

DiCeglie was officially nominated before the floor vote by state Representative Larry Ahern.

“Nick is focused on one thing, putting Republicans in office, [but] he has his priorities right, he loves the Lord and his beautiful family,” Ahern said just before DiCeglie’s wife and children arrived at the meeting.

DiCeglie beat two opponents — Lee Pilon and George Farrell. Of 171 votes cast, DiCeglie earned 110.

The committee also elected a new vice chair to replace DiCeglie. Todd Jennings ran unopposed. Former secretary and retired Yankee player Casey Cox replaces Chet Renfro as treasurer. Pam McAloon will succeed Cox as secretary. The terms are two years.

State Sen. Jack Latvala handed over a $5,000 check for the local party to “get [DiCeglie] started.” State Rep. Kathleen Peters also presented DiCeglie with a $2,500 check for the party, noting that she doesn’t have the same fundraising power as Latvala.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.