Hoe Brown to challenge A.J. Matthews for Hillsborough GOP post

Influential Republican and businessman Hoe Brown informed Irreverent View today that he will challenge Hillsborough County Republican state committeeman A.J. Matthews. The elected position is a party position with no government authority but will be decided on this summer’s GOP primary election ballot. Matthews has served in the position for approximately twelve years and has faced opponents who he has defeated three times.

Matthews elected C.D. 11 Delegate to RNC convention

By Chris Ingram

Influential Republican and businessman Hoe Brown informed Irreverent View today that he will challenge Hillsborough County Republican state committeeman A.J. Matthews. The elected position is a party position with no government authority but will be decided on this summer’s GOP primary election ballot. Matthews has served in the position for approximately twelve years and has faced opponents who he has defeated three times.

Photo: Hoe Brown (right) with Governor Rick Scott.

Brown has been actively involved as an influential behind-the-scenes player in GOP campaigns including those for Marco Rubio, Mel Martinez, Pam Bondi, and John McCain, among others. Brown currently serves as the West Central Florida campaign chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He is also a member of the Tampa Port Authority, an executive committee member of Tampa Bay and Company and former member of the Tampa Sports Commission. He is a graduate of FSU and is president of J.B. Carrie Properties.

On his candidacy, Brown stated, “A.J. has held the position for 12 years and he’s a good man, but it is time for new blood, new energy and new leadership representing us on the Republican state executive committee.”

Matthews told Irreverent View that Brown told him earlier this morning that he intended to challenge him. Matthews says he intends to run for re-election saying, “The thing that we could relay to people, the things to consider are [my] institutional knowledge [of state party operations]. To take [a candidate] without it, can harm the party.”

Brown will likely challenge the assertion that what Matthews has, he lacks — Brown is among the most well-connected Republicans in Hillsborough County, if not the state. An additional problem for Matthews is Brown is one of the few Republicans who has successfully bridged the divide between grassroots activists (those who attend party meetings) and Main Street Republicans (those who write the checks).

In a related matter, on Saturday of last week Matthews was elected to one of Congressional District 11’s two delegate slots to the RNC convention in Tampa this August. Hillsborough activist Carol Carter was selected to the other delegate slot, while April Schiff and Rebecca Clarke were elected to the alternate positions. While District 11 consists of the counties of Bradenton, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee, all of the convention slots for the district were filled by Hillsborough residents.

The vote was taken among the two committeemen from each county (one of which included Matthews from Hillsborough) and each county’s party chairman. Out of a total of twelve potential votes from the four counties that make up the district, only nine were cast in a secret ballot on Saturday. Not voting due to absence were Pinellas chairman J.J. Beyrouti and Pinellas committeeman Tony Dimatteo and Manatee County chairwoman Kathy King.

Smoke-filled, backroom politics continues to rule the day in local GOP politics.

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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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