Young Republican leaders unite to back Leslie Dougher for RPOF chair

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A new generation of Florida Republicans have thrown their support behind Leslie Dougher as the party leader through the critical 2016 presidential cycle.

In a show of GOP unity, Dan Ruoss, chair of the Florida Federation of Young Republicans (FFYR) joined the Florida Federation of College Republicans (FFCR) and the Florida Federation of Teenage Republicans (FFTARS) to announce their endorsement of Dougher for another term as Republican Party of Florida chair.

Dougher, who was one of the key figures in the state’s GOP sweep in November, had already received the endorsement of Gov. Rick Scott.

“During this past election,” said Ruoss, “you could always count on seeing Chairman Dougher engaged at campaign functions, from rallies to protests to knocking on doors with volunteers.”

Rouss, speaking personally and not for the FFYU organization, added that he believes party needs a leader like Dougher as they head into 2016.

As for FFYU, an official endorsement of any RPOF candidate is pending.

Adam Cross, chair of the college Republicans group, emphasized that it is crucial for party members to avoid taking Dougher’s experience for granted.

“I believe that her vision is making Florida a stronger state and is taking us in the right direction,” Cross added.

Madison Taaffe, who serves as communications director for the FFTR, noted that her group voted unanimously on Dec. 14 to support Dougher for re-election.

“Dougher has been incredibly supportive of Florida TARS,” Taaffe said. “She has worked (to) build and strengthen the partnership between Florida TARS and RPOF.”

“These young leaders made an enormous impact this past election cycle,” Dougher said. “Motivating their members to join our grassroots networks to knock on 4 million doors, make over 4 million phone calls, and get the vote out.”

Dougher said that increasing youth activism is what will keep the future of the RPOF “looking bright.”

“After all, that is what we are all about: winning elections!” she said.

Dougher faces Eric Miller, former state Rep. Kurt Kelly, and state Rep.-elect Blaise Ingoglia in an election set for late January in Orlando. In May, Miller lost to Dougher by a thin margin to replace Lenny Curry, who stepped down as RPOF chair to run for Jacksonville mayor.

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 [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.