Unimpressed REC member explains concerns with Cox-Roush

Objective Analysis of Deborah Cox-Roush for RPOF Chair

Charges aren’t new, but problems continue to persist for Cox-Roush from those who know her best

By Chris Ingram

I received the following e-mail from Becky Ehret, a member of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee. Ms. Ehret is not a fan of Deborah Cox-Roush and she outlines her reasons why in the e-mail. Ms. Ehret challenged Ms. Cox-Roush for Hills. REC chair last year.

You can read my letter of support for candidate Dave Bitner by clicking here.

The unedited e-mail from Ms. Ehret follows.  

Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 11:15:18 -0500

Subject: Objective Analysis of Deborah Cox-Roush for RPOF Chair

From: becky.ehret2@[address suppressed]

To: Members of the RPOF Executive Committee

I am writing to you as a female member of the Hillsborough Republican Executive Committee, a former legislative auditor and a person who makes decisions by weighing the costs and benefits of taking any given action.  I have no personal animous towards Ms. Roush.  I think she is a perfectly nice woman.  However, I do have some serious concerns as to whether she is the best person for the position of Chairwoman at this time.  As all of you are most certainly aware, there has been much written about Ms. Roush that is less than flattering and while Ms. Roush’s contention is that these articles are just a smear campaign and some of the allegations may be, that doesn’t change the fact that politics is all about perceptions and even where perceptions and truth are wildly different, perceptions rule.  Consequently, I put together an analysis of the costs and benefits for your review in the hopes that when you look at the whole picture, you will see, as I do, that her negatives are much greater than her positives and even more importantly, her negatives that impact things like fundraising, something that will be critical as we go into 2012, are likely to be huge in the eyes of our regular and prospective donors.


1. It would be a natural ascension to go from the position of Vice Chair to Chair

2. She currently serves as Chair of one of the larger RECs in the state and has held the position for 2 years.

3. Electing her could answer the public relations question raised in this race that she is being picked on because she is female.  I hope gender is not a criteria for election.

4. She is a relative newcomer to Florida and has risen quickly to prominence in Florida politics.


1. She has received much negative publicity for her 2004 DUI, a charge supported by the mug shot and her own admission.

2. There is a negative perception of her from the story indicating that 24% of the REC budget went to pay her through her business.

3. She inappropriately used Hillsborough REC resources when she posted an endorsement letter on the Hillsborough REC website that suggests that the REC itself had endorsed her.  There was no vote to endorse her although there are individuals within the REC that do.  The purpose of the website is to provide information to Republicans and people interested in becoming Republicans. See http://www.hcrp.org.  Does this sound like the RPOF’s public endorsement of Crist prior to the primary, an action that drew the ire of Ms. Roush and others?  Does this give the negative perception of do as I say, not as I do?

4. There is a negative perception that because of nos. 2 and 3 above that suggests that like Jim Greer she used REC funds and resources for her own personal and/or political gain.  Given the negative media attention given to the Jim Greer situation, we need to be particularly cautious about any future similar perceptions because of the impact on fundraising and donations.

5. Ms. Roush’s business is being sued for ejectment and allegations have been made that this is the result of being thousands of dollars behind in paying the rent.  This allegation creates the negative perception that Ms. Roush is either in serious financial trouble, or irresponsible or both.  Of course the facts could be totally different, but again perception rules.  This raises the question, would you donate money to a person or organization that is either in financial trouble or irresponsible?

6. Ms. Roush’s business ejectment suit has been ongoing since at least August 2010 and despite the potential affect to the REC which meets there, was not disclosed except through the media.  Does this sound eerily similar to the upset caused when the current Chair of the RPOF did not disclose the existence of a Federal subpoena for more than 30 days?

Becky Ehret

p.s. If you have any questions call me at 813-[# suppressed].


Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 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.

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19 thoughts on “Unimpressed REC member explains concerns with Cox-Roush”

  1. This garbage has to stop!

    Debbie is the right candidate for RPOF.

    She was a great vice chair and has been a tireless worker.

    Please stop the negative campaigning.


  2. Wow! She just should stop embarrassing herself and drop out like she had planned to before being talked out of it. Like I said before, you just can’t make this stuff up. Just sayin!


  3. I think that makes four people on the HCREC who have publically and loudly made it known that they do not support her for Chairman of the RPOF. Yea, the local party is really turning against DCR.


  4. Although this nastiness against Cox-Roush shows that her detractor’s panties are in a wad because she’s ahead, I agree with the poster at 3:17 that it has to stop.

    It’s become clear that a Tampa Democrat operative and his go-boy blogger buddy, as well as a few remaining Greer throwbacks are responsible for most of the venom cowardly spewed against Cox-Roush. Why do these sorts of people hate her so? Could it be because she was the first to call Greer out and because the Hillsborough GOP under her leadership trounced the Democrats?

    Speaking of trouncing, Becky Ehret has an axe to grind since Cox-Roush defeated her 162-18. Somebody needs to build a bridge and get over it.

    Either way, if Democrats, Greer holdouts, and unscrupulous bloggers don’t like her, she must be the right choice to lead the GOP.


  5. Just what has Becky Ehert ever done for the Republican Party? I am not impressed with her and think she has something to gain by throwing Debbie under the bus. Bottom line is the HCRP elected more Repubicans than it has for years and we all know that you can’t do that without a good leader.We all know the Democrats are living to bring Debbie down. Becky who’s side are you on? Just asking.


  6. For those of you asking who I am, I am a registered Republican and have been for 30 years. I stuck my toe in the water this past year by doing some precinct walking and phone banking. I have no axe to grind with Deborah. I knew I was going to lose because I didn’t even really campaign. My purpose in challenging her was to make the party better. We all need a challenge. That is how we grow and improve. My concern is for the Republican Party of Florida. I can see how the perceptions out there about her can be used by the Democratic Party in 2012 much to our own detriment. I have no ill will towards her what so ever.



  7. Very well said Becky. You are not alone! It seems only a few people on the local committee even knew any of this stuff before voting for Cox-Roush in December. I’m really in awe that she could keep it all under the rug until now. Stay the course, and thank you. Wonder what the vote would be now? You can bet it wouldn’t be the same.


  8. She’s a drunk. always has. still is. always will be. we don’t need another Greer with her own sweetheart deals.

    Committee members: remember, you were duped to support Greer not once, but twice. Don’t make the same mistake again. Debbie is not what she appears to be.

    She will be BAD for the RPOF. We don’t need her scandals.

    Bitner is the only candidate who has what it takes to clean up the mess that the RPOF is — with apologies to Thrasher — who has done NOTHING to clean things up.



  9. HARDLY and “objective analysis” Becky as you so put it in your subject line. The facts, except for the DUI, are incorrect, but you are entitled to your opinion. Let’s just not call it objective by any means.


  10. Debbie is a Chairman I am proud of locally and would be proud to see at the state level. I thought people were allowed to make mistakes in their lives, make amends and move on…. or are those of us in the Judeo-Christian tradition just blowing smoke?

    A bigger question – why does this article have a Democrat running for mayor of Tampa’s ad on the top of it?


  11. Jason,

    I entitled it an objective analysis because I am not saying that any of the stories out there are factual, but regardless, the stories have created perceptions in the eyes of voters, donors, and even candidates. What creates more of a problem is that some of the allegations can at least be partially supported by information that is in the public record, so even if some of the details alleged are incorrect, even a cursory level of research would show that there are some kernels of truth. I am not saying that this is right or fair, but it is what it is. We Republicans have to do everything we can do to hold our party accountable; help our candidates get elected; and present a public personae that says our organization and its leaders are responsible, honest, and people of integrity.


  12. Ray,

    Of course people make mistakes, make amends and move on, however that does not mean that there aren’t future consequences for our actions. The difference between punishment and consequences is that punishment is more immediate and specific, while consequences can be life long.


  13. Been There Seen That:

    You say that the reason for the overwhelming wins of Republicans is because of Debbie’s strong leadership, however, is it also possible that the votes for Republicans were the result of voters being terrified of the unbridled control in Washington?

    If Deborah was running for an office like State Senator, County Commissioner, Congresswoman, where the consequences of her past would be ascribed only to her ability to win, I would have no problems with her candidacy. But, she is running for a position where she holds herself out as representing who all of us are and the consequences of her actions may well affect the ability of Republican candidates to succeed in Florida. The game has changed and we all need to recognize that or 2012 could be a repeat of 2008 and none of us want that.


  14. This isn’t just about the DUI. That woman has a pattern of poor decision making, reckless behavior, and an inability to get along with people. She is not fit to serve. Jason claims only the DUI is a fact — I believe otherwise.

    Thank you Becky E. for taking this public position in exposing Mrs. Cox for what she is.


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