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Florida GOP wants to pay reelected chairman big bucks

via @adamsmithtimes

To the victor go the spoils.

Shortly after overwhelmingly re-electing state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, the party's board members this weekend voted behind closed doors to reward him financially as well. Ingoglia had forgone a salary as party chairman after winning election in 2015, but board members voted Saturday that he should not only receive the $115,000 annual pay in 2017 and 2018, but also receive $230,000 in back pay for 2015 and 2016.

"We did the impossible by Republicans taking Florida. All the way down the line we were successful, and it was because of all the programs that Blaise put together over the last two years," said Nancy Riley, a state committeewoman from Pinellas said of the vote.

Just because the party authorized the money doesn't mean he'll accept it, Ingoglia told The Tampa Bay Times.

"While I am thankful that my executive board recognized my hard work and dedication to our party this past election cycle in wanting to give me back pay for deferring my salary, I have not yet made a decision whether to take it," he said in a text.

National Committeewoman Sharon Day, who is also co-chairman of the RNC, voted against the authorization, which she said came as a surprise to her.

"He campaigned (for re-election) saying that he hadn't taken a salary in two years. It was just my personal opinon that he made a choice not to take a salary," said Day, who was one of only two people to vote against the payments. 

"I think we had new members that didn't understand what was going on, and Blaise was in the room, so that made it awkward," Day said.

Ingoglia -- and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who supports him -- appears to be consolidating his control on the state party as a new election cycle begins where Corcoran is widely seen as a prospective candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam did not even attend the state GOP meeting Saturday.

Party officials also decreed this weekend that members appointed by the governor cannot hold subcommittee chair positions or Congressional District Caucus positions, while people appointed by Republican legislative leaders remain eligible.

Scott has essentially disowned the state party since members elected Ingoglia chairman in 2015, instead of reelecting his choice, Leslie Dougher. On Saturday, former chairman Dougher left before the board meeting after Ingoglia questioned whether she should be allowed to attend the closed meeting. 

Ingoglia said it is unclear whether Dougher qualifies as the "past chairman," since he was the most recent one. 

"I gave her the option to leave if she wanted to because I told her we were going to clarify (the rule) at our next meeting," he said of Dougher. "She chose to leave."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times