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Florida: A battlefield in the chase to the White House

Republicans have more money in the bank than Florida Democrats

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Republicans control both chambers and the executive offices in state government, but there appears to be turmoil and a power struggle playing out through control of money at the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF).

Florida will be a battleground in the chase for the White House once again.

Even though the RPOF may have problems they seem to have some advantages over their counterparts.

The big advantage for Republicans is they have more money than the Florida Democratic Party. 

Reports filed with the state show RPOF with about $15Min the bank while the Florida Democrats have about $3M.

In the meantime, there’s a shakeup at GOP headquarters in Tallahassee, filtering out to places like Northeast Florida.

State Representative Lake Ray III, serves in the House and he’s leading Duval County’s Republican Party.

 “I think it’s concerning, not just what’s happening in RPOF,” said Ray. “That’s a distraction.”

Ray confirmed some of the struggles in Tallahassee and the divide between the Governor, the Senate, and the House when it comes to fundraising for campaigns.

“I think there’s always struggles because the current chair is not necessarily the hand-picked person of the governor, Ray said. “So there’s always going to be a little bit of jousting.”

The problems began a year ago when the party elected Blaise Ingoglia as its chairman over the governor’s hand-picked candidate, Clay County’s Leslie Dougher.

But that move caused Gov. Rick Scott to stop raising money for the party. Since then Scott has put just under $4M dollars into his own account. Dougher declined any comment Tuesday.

Gov. Scott was asked about the split Monday. When pushed for an answer as to why as the first Republican governor he was not aggressively raising money for the party, Scott said, “Well, as you know I ran on a program to get our state back to work.”

Scott also said, “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure a Republican wins in Florida.”

That’s the focus for Ray who said he believes it will be the main agenda of a unified party when it happens.

“I don’t think you’re going to see anybody fall off that wagon, whether governor, Senate, House, RPOF as a whole,” Ray said. “We will be consolidated, because it’s far too important and everybody will put aside any of those differences and we’ll figure out how to get it done.”

The RPOF declined to be interviewed but offered this statement, which said in part: "Our party continues to be debt free, hold a cash on hand advantage over the Florida Democrats while holding significant digital, data and field operational advantages as well.” 

Indeed, the RPOF still has a five to one cash on hand advantage over Democrats, but it’s fundraising is down by a third from the same time four years ago.


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