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RNC names three top Florida staffers

in 2017/Top Headlines by

The GOP is positioning itself in the Sunshine State, as the Republican National Committee fills a trio of top Florida positions ahead of 2016.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the RNC announced on Thursday that Brian Barrett will be the new state director; Alex Garcia will become deputy state director and lead Hispanic initiatives, and Ben Shankle will head data direction.

“The RNC is building the largest, earliest and most data-focused field program in GOP history,” RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in a statement.

“This new wave of staff will help us train our team, register voters, and meet one-on-one with activists to build our infrastructure now in order to hand our eventual nominee a fully functional ground operation on day one,” he said.

“The road to the White House goes through Florida,” Republican Party of Florida Chair Blaise Ingoglia added. “Our State Party is fighting for every vote across the state with a commitment to the ground game unparalleled in the history of Florida politics.”

According to RNC bios, Barrett comes from his most recent role as RNC victory director for the state of Georgia, where he oversaw the grassroots programs for both Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s 2014 victories.

Barrett also managed ground operations to unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District.

Prior to overseeing the RNC’s Florida Hispanic Initiatives in 2014, Garcia was a legislative aide for state Sen. Anitere Flores and state Rep. Michael Bileca. He also served as Flores’ deputy campaign manager for her 2010 campaign and campaign manager for Bileca in 2012.

Shankle has provided data services for several Florida state House and Senate campaigns. Previously, he was an attorney for the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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