Fla. GOP Chair candidate’s DUI

For the Florida Republican Party, Cox-Roush’s demise doesn’t mean much. She was the lead candidate in a field of second-string Junior Varsity players. Apparently there isn’t a Republican in the state of Florida worth his or her salt who is willing to step up to the plate and help get the party out of the hole it is in.

Mugshot makes Nick Nolte’s look like a prom queen

By Chris Ingram

In what could be the final nail in the coffin of her race for chair of the Republican Party of Florida, it was disclosed yesterday that Hillsborough County Chairwoman Deborah Cox-Roush was arrested for DUI in 2004. According to the St. Petersblog (which appears to have broken the story ahead of the mainstream media which is playing catch up today — along with Irreverent View) Cox-Roush blew a .16 — twice the legal limit according to Florida law. That’s more than just a beer or two.

Deborah Cox-Roush mugshot (photo courtesy Hillsborough County Sheriff)

While drinking and driving is certainly wrong and inappropriate — it shows poor judgment and a reckless disregard for the life of your fellow citizens — it’s almost so common-place you have to wonder if her DUI will be the fatal blow to Cox-Roush’s ladder-climbing. I’ve never had a DUI, but I know lots of people who have — including the pastor at my church and former President George W. Bush.

What is more likely to undo Cox-Roush is the fact that the DUI is just another example of her poor judgment. Take for example the fact that as chairwoman of the Hillsborough GOP, her company has received nearly $100,000 in catering business from the local party — according to the St. Pete Times. Cox-Roush claims the catering business she received was all on the up-and-up but some party-insiders have challenged that claim.

As chairwoman, Cox-Roush has burnt through two paid executive directors — neither of whom have much favorable to say about their former boss.

Actor Nick Nolte mugshot after DUI arrest

And last week local party activists Pat and Pam McDowell wrote a scathing assessment of Cox-Roush which included comments such as the following: “We witnessed first-hand her nasty demeanor and willingness to be verbally abusive of both volunteers and paid staff…”

McDowell’s letter added, “While her poor management skills are reason enough to oppose her, our main opposition the her comes from her complete lack of neutrality with regards to primary races.”

I am a personal witness to Cox-Roush’s double-talk on primary races. While she attempted to appear neutral in the GOP primary race for governor, behind the scenes she was questioning Rick Scott’s fitness to serve. Following Scott’s Primary Election victory, she played like she’d been a Rick Scott supporter since birth.

Ultimately the fact that Deborah Cox-Roush has bad judgment, talks out of both sides of her mouth, and is somewhat insincere in her treatment of people will be her undoing.

The fact that we all have seen her mugshot, or that she (like Jim Greer) has a DUI record alone wouldn’t undo her. But the fact that she, like Jim Greer has what could be viewed as suspicious business dealings with the party she was elected to serve and seems to treat people like doormats will more likely be her undoing.

The good news for Cox-Roush is, it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s and perhaps, just perhaps the few hundred people eligible to vote for the next state party chair aren’t paying attention.

As for the Florida Republican Party as whole, Cox-Roush’s demise doesn’t mean much. She was the lead candidate in a field of second-string Junior Varsity players. Apparently there isn’t a Republican in the state of Florida worth his or her salt who is willing to step up to the plate and help get the party out of the hole it is in.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder o411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following our terms and conditions.  You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

36 thoughts on “Fla. GOP Chair candidate’s DUI”

  1. Chris-Just my opinion but, don’t we all mess up occasionally? I have never had a DUI or been arrested for anything, but as we come out of the holiday season, shouldn’t we have compassion for our own at least. She was in the forefront to oust Greer and has really done a good job of running the local REC. Happy New year


  2. Oops or should it be hiccup!
    Integrity where is it today? What was the outcome on this case? Fine, etc. Chris, give us the rest of the story like Paul Harvey always did.


  3. What was the disposition of this matter? I searched the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court’s online search and can’t find any criminal record for DCR. After 6 years, I’m willing to put that down under the catagory of “history” and I’m still supporting DCR for RPOF Chairman.


  4. While Chris is many times clever, he can also be just nasty, and I think this is one of those times. The DUI was 6 years ago, and has apparently not been repeated. To make fun of Deborah’s photo is just CHILDISH! Since when do we judge those seeking elected office by their photos? (Plus, she looked fine — nothing like Nick Nolte.) Deborah has been an admirable Hillsborough GOP Party Chairman and I think Chris Ingram owes her an apology for these smear-type stories.


  5. Lisa:

    You’re right about one thing, her hair in the mugshot photo actually doesn’t look that bad — at least not as bad as it usually does. Her “normal” hair actually looks more like Nolte’s. It must have calmed down in the back seat of the patrol car.

    Sorry if my comments bothered you. But I’m not sorry to DCR. She’s attempting to be a player in a world that is WAY above her pay grade. And she’s not really that nice of a person — really bad hair and all.

    In closing, the name of this column/blog is “Irreverent View.”

    It is not called “kiss butt and be nice to everyone who wants to promote themselves while stabbing everyone else in the back.”

    Chris Ingram


  6. Hello Chris,
    It has been a while. I have to admit that what you said in your article came as no surprise…Her Catering business is located in the lobby where we have the H.C.R.E.C meetings, so one can see how her business would benefit in that regard.
    She has always appeared congenial the few times I have seen her…but her body language gave me cause to doubt her sincerity. Like Charlie Christ she constantly flip-flopped with Rick Scott.(and several others) When the negatives about Scott and his questionable finances were flowing from the media, she went along with it. And within weeks she was inviting members to celebrate the Rick Scott victory and to congratulate him….Isn’t that what politicians do? I had her pegged from the beginning as a ‘phony’.

    All the best,



  7. Attacking her looks really is childish, but not unexpected from IRRELEVANT View. (I’m only here because I googled DCR & DUI.)

    I don’t think it’s a secret Debbie initially supported Bill McCollum. We had our differences there, but I thought she was very professional about it. She just told me to look into it, not that I shouldn’t support Rick Scott. She had a conversion after Rick Scott spent some time with her, detailing his philosophy. Hey, he had to win a lot of us over.




  9. What hole is the Republican party of florida in

    Holding every statewide office but 1. Super majorities in the house and senate. Tea party winners like Rick Scott for governor, Rubio for Senate and West for Congress. Beating democratic standard bearer Grayson by Tea Party favorite Webster. Sid Dinerstein as the next RPOF chair

    I think the rest of the country would love to be where Florida Republicans are


  10. Reply to Mordechai:

    You obviously have blinders on…

    Rubio is a cheat and a liar.

    Party “leaders” like Haridopolos who fail to fulfill the legal requirement to report their income (he neglected to report over $100,000 in income for 5 yrs).

    Legislative “leaders” who gave us Ray Samson scandal and the $48 million Taj Majal.

    Oh, and let’s not forget all the Kool-aid drinking Republicans who embraced/supported Charlie Crist (an empty suits empty suit) until it was obvious he couldn’t win.

    And then of course there is the maligned party structure/rules which gave us Jim Greer and then prevented us from getting rid of him in a timely manner.

    The party is in disarray. Our leaders care about nothing other than getting re-elected. Our children will suffer for the free-spending, carefree, reckless ways of the Republicans in Fla.

    I could go on and on. But the bottom line is this: too many Kool-aid drinkers like yourself who have a win-at-all-costs attitude so long as an “R” is after their name is the reason for this mess.


  11. Well, the DUI is bad judgment and is illegal. For that, she has paid the price personally and politically. Some will throw stones and make passing judgments and encapsulate her entire career into a really bad choice made on one day. I think it is bad judgment to play the gotcha game on a mistake such as this one. Now, Norman on the other hand, an act of dishonesty with the public versus stupidity, that’s another issue.

    Yes, she supported Bill M. over Scott. It is enjoyable to watch all of the party elites squirm to play catch up after their poor judgment. But that is over and now everyone is on the same team. That’s okay too. People choose one candidate over the other for a host of reasons. I suppose the real fact of the matter is that Scott should want someone who has been loyal to him. That’s what got us Greer though, only in part. In the end of the day, loyalty should still count but should not be the end all.

    Nevertheless, the Convention is in our county and her tireless work ethic and DCR makes sense on many levels. Hence, I conclude my random musings without a coherent conclusion. Happy New Year.


  12. Im sorry I don’t give a grown woman a pass for driving drunk. This was not a case of just one or two beers she was clearly way over the limit and should have known better. Her comment that everyone makes a mistake…well tell that to the mother who has lost their child or anyone who has lost a loved one to someone else’s “mistake or poor judgement.”

    I for one am tired of the GOP majic wand that everyone waves and says oh it was a mistake an error in judgement an oversight and we should forgive them and you are right if it was a democrat it would be a different story and I am a republican who does not stand for supporting just anyone with an R regardless of their “mistakes.”


  13. I’m a lifelong conservative who has always registered as Republican, who has run for office as a Republican, but who has never voted for anyone just because they have an “R” behind their name. This year I actively opposed the incumbent “R” Brevard County Commissioners because they a Rhinos…tax-and-spend liberals who ran as Republicans, and were reelected as Republicans because our core coolaid-drinking local Republican activists aren’t conservatives, they are socialites supporting socialists. DUI? I could care less…there is a legal system to address that! Crist supporter? That is the mark of the political devil! During this period of Republican Party ascendancy, what we need is som ball-busting idealogues who will restore party equity, reversing the empire-building power-grabbing policies instituted by Greer and Crist. If Deborah Cox-Rousch will do that, I’ll buy her next drink!


  14. If she’s got the balls to unravel the RPOF empire structure that Greer & Crist put in place, I’ll buy her first drink! Let’s give a voice back to our elected EC rep.s!


  15. The more one thinks about this and reads the comments. Yes, it is shameful that she did this act but thank goodness she did not kill someone as a dentist did who practices in Riverview. This case of poor judgement can not be laid to rest..she could have killed someone for this one bad choice. Forgiveness is not valid.


  16. Chris – You’re arguement would have validity if this was a recent charge…Example, during her tenure as HCRP Chairwoman or even this past year as Vice-Chiar of the RPOF. However, it was SIX YEARS AGO. People make mistakes! Have we recently seen Debbie drunk at functions and get behind the wheel of a car? I look at it as, she used that experience to LEARN A LIFE LESSON and correct her behavior. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    I would posit that if an Private Investigator dug deep enough on anyone on this wall, there would be that one skeleton that an individual would consider extremely embarrassing for them when brought to the public’s attention. Do some reflection and see if you come up with that one thing for yourself and then imagine how you would truly feel if someone started a smear campaign on that fact. How would you cope with it?

    We are all human…


  17. While it was poor judgment on her part, is there one single one of you making these comments that can in good conscience “throw the first stone.” There are skeletons in every closet. Lisa you are right. Chris Ingram’s strong point is being nasty, sarcastic and mean. If he ever runs for anything, we can dig up his skeletons. I am sure Debbie has paid for her mistake and thanked God many times that nothing really bad happened. SIX YEARS AGO! I am willing to give her a pass and move on


  18. this blog is called IRREVERENT VIEW….let’s keep that in mind. So this 6 year old tidbit fits in perfectly.

    I don’t know DCR so can’t comment on her much. But she looks pretty ok in the mugshot as far as I can see…God knows what I would have looked like if I had drunk that much..even worse probably. (But hopefully not as bad as Nolte. Wowsers.)

    For kicks check out the sheriff’s website — they put all the day’s arrestees’ mugshots up. Every day brings a fresh bunch. Compared to them DCR looks fabu. My husband checks the mugshots every single morning as he sips his coffee. I hear him guffawing at some of them. Sick way to amuse himself, but hey, it’s free.

    Frankly, our big Republican “win” gives me little joy. I think we have put in too many scallawags and scoundrels…from the top level (Scott…just shoot me now!) to the local level and will live to regret it. Some of Florida’s darkest days may be ahead of us. Under the leadership of our own dear Republican party.


  19. Those are very good points Scott. However, I know that someone with a DUI is unhireable in many fields: firefighters, police, bus drivers, pilots, charter boat captains, etc. Get the point? Bad judgements tend to repeat themselves.


  20. I’m a Republican, and I’m astonished by the posts on here suggesting this DUI doesn’t matter or is no reflection on this ladie’s preparedness to serve! Maybe you were out boozing with her while Alex Sink won Hillsborough County?

    More importantly, does she still drink? Do they serve alcohol at her parties? Six years isn’t that long when you lose a loved one. Trust me. Shame on all of you who dismiss this as trivial, and shame on you all the more if you knew about her illegal conduct and did nothing. What happened to personal responsibility, and how namy of you knew about this DUI when you voted for her as your chairwoman?

    This has nothing to do with who she supported in the primary. Mr. Ingram is right – this has everything to do with the poor judgement of a grown woman. Visit a local MADD meeting if you want to see hurt feelings. She will not get an ounce of sympathy from me.




  21. Folks…..reading the irreverent view is supposed to empower the converative and responsible party of our country…..over a prolonged period of time I have read with great interest the positions of people who comment on posts that chris ingram places on his post. While most of the comments endorse or conflict with chris ingrams view, what offends me the most is chris ingrams biased attack of conservatives, Tea Party participants, Republicans and other independant thinkers. It chris ingram was a real journalist or investigator he would share his zeal across the Isle to some of the Demacrats. I am perplexed, perhaps just the cold weather, as to why he cannot see fit to explore, exploit, damage, destroy or pursuade anyone against the democratic, RINO, Socialist, Communist, or other anti American type of belief system that is not touched or condemned on his site. I am flabberghasted that all of you followers of the irrelevant view just give chris ingram a pass…..lets just give everyone in governement a pass while we are at it!


  22. To Readers:

    The post from “Lisa” about being perplexed and flabberghasted by my writings comes from someone who is an agitator who hides in the anonymity of the internet. “Lisa” won’t share her real name and frequently posts comments under different names — though from the same IP. (update: actually I was confusing her with someone else. “Lisa” is consistently Lisa, though her rants are just as meaningless and narrow-minded as the other person I was confusing her with).

    She is a kool-aid drinking Republican who should be ashamed for electing people who are bankrupting our country simply because they have an “R” after their name on the ballot.

    As for her one somewhat valid question about why I don’t take on the Democrats you can read why here:

    Or just read my summation: I don’t care about the Dems. They are too far gone to try to change. I expose the antics of the GOP and its leaders because I care about the party and still believe it is worth saving. Now if we could only get rid of all the kool-aid drinking wing-nuts and special interests….and “Lisa.”

    Chris Ingram


  23. Still no public answers regarding who knew what and when? Who knew she had such a recent drunk driving conviction and still voted for her as our countywide Republican leader? Do Hillsborough Republicans think her drinking doesn’t affect her ability to lead. Because that farcical fairytale thinking right there. What will these people say when she gets the next one?


  24. MADD Tampa,

    First, you need to separate the issues here.

    1) DUI under ANY substance is unacceptable.

    2) To make the nexus for a DUI to one’s ability to delegate other aspect’s of one’s life is a logical fallacy of the type “weak correlation”.

    After you read this, go back and re-read my original post.



  25. To your statement, “Apparently there isn’t a Republican in the state of Florida worth his or her salt who is willing to step up to the plate and help get the party out of the hole it is in.” The key word is “willing”. With the almost certain negative news coverage this person will get, coupled with the reputation of the party of “eating it’s own”, why would someone worth while step up? I think I’m worth while…I have experience, an M.B.A., contacts, and solid conservative values, but I wouldn’t do it and neither will many others. What we will get is what what you so eloquently described as, “…a field of second-string Junior Varsity players”. It’s sad, but a reflection of our choices on all political fronts.


  26. Kool aid tastes great and allows us the opportunity to beleive in something. chris ingram has called me an agitator….I suppose writing about and against marco, DCR, and on and on is not being an agitator. POT
    The frank and stark reality is chris ingram does not bring a solution to the table he is a media hound. He speaks with dog breath and growls about something that he will not and cannot change.
    Having a narrow mind allows someone to go and explore the areas that a fat unfocused mind cannot. Sometimes the lack of hair causes the brain to not be warm enough to function at 100%. The previous statement could be seen as a negative statement or that of a new reality worthy of a grant. Usually narrowmindedness is related to bigotry and being uneducated. If we cannot fix the democrats, as they are way to far gone, we are destroying the republicans from inside and the tea party people cannot get any real traction to create a stable powerful monied party, what are we left with?
    The direction is to the left as the government has the only club in town that can force people to offer up their possessions (RE TAX), their income (income tax), their elective funds (Sales Tax) and their children (socilized education). I know chris will tell me and all of you that you get a benefit from the above items. Honestly though there is not a benefit only a reduction in the items that long term are not working for you and me. These all directly fund a direction that unchecked only moves to the left as people in our society are trained in the schools to be conformist and communal in their nature. Some would clearly call this communism. chris ingram wants me to conform so he can use me to further his positions. This does smack of irreverents towards your contributors on so many levels. I wish the best for chris as he is a troubled soul with aires of loftiness and value. Even Dee Williams sees thru your crap. chris can’t you mototivate Scott Factor to step up?


  27. Statement by Joe Gruters on recent negative articles, allegations, and attacks in the campaign to become the next Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida:

    In almost every campaign, tensions rise as the election gets closer and the race tightens up. The campaign for Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida is no different. This has recently led to some Republicans attacking other Republican candidates for Chairman. This is unacceptable behavior and you will not see it from my campaign.

    The Obama machine will be difficult to defeat in 2012. In order to give our state the best possible chance to deliver a victory for the Republican nominee & secure the presidency for our country, we must ensure that the Republican Party of Florida does not fracture and damage during the campaign for Chairman.

    Keep this in mind during the Chairman campaign: While Republicans may have some disagreements from time to time, the difference between a Republican and a Democrat is like night and day. We MUST stick together and focus on our shared end goal, Republican victory.

    For this reason, I ask that when confronted with negative information & campaigning, you take a step back and remember Reagan’s 11th Commandment:
    “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”

    -Joe Gruters


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s