So much for Blaise’s Blunder…
After a few hiccups and a barrage of negative attention from Florida’s political media, namely the Tampa Bay Times’Adam Smith and, to a lesser extent, Politico Florida’s Marc Caputo, the Florida GOP’s Sunshine Summit was a smashing success.
Fourteen presidential candidates and four U.S. Senate candidates spoke to more than 2,500 attendees. Three hundred and fifty press credentials were granted, although the RPOF did itself no favors by limiting access to Thursday night’s Statesman’s Dinner.
CPSAN even offered wall-to-wall coverage.
For a moment there, it did not look as if the Summit would be the blockbuster event it is shaping up to be. Ridiculously, Smith and Co. framed RPOF Chairman Blaise Ignoglia’s efforts as an ‘extortion’ effort to raise money for the party by linking candidate ballot access to participation in the event.
Ingoglia and the Florida GOP proved their critics wrong.
For their part, these critics are giving credit where credit is due.
Smith named Ignoglia his “Winner of the Week in Florida politics,” although in typical Adam fashion, he couldn’t resist labeling Ingoglia’s promotional efforts as “hardball tactics.”
Caputo is more gracious.
Acknowledging that he “metaphorically shin-kicked” Ingoglia, Caputo writes in his Florida Playbook that he “deserves an attaboy” and then goes on to list the impressive stats about participation in the Summit.
Then again, Ingoglia’s goal for the Summit was not to please the media. His job is to keep/make the Florida GOP a relevant part of the 2016 election cycle. With a successful Sunshine Summit, Ingoglia succeeded.