Local Republicans have say in state GOP leadership races

Steve Simon and Hoe Brown represent an opportunity for some fresh voices, new ideas, and people with real-world experience to serve on the much maligned Republican Party of Florida’s state committee.

Irreverent View endorses Hoe Brown and Steve Simon for state committee

By Chris Ingram

With so many high-profile contested races on the GOP primary ballot, local Republicans may have a hard time figuring out whom to vote for in the lower-profile races that don’t get much money or media attention.

Way down on the ballot, Republicans in every Florida county have the opportunity to vote for two state committee members who will represent their county at the Republican Party of Florida. The position carries no government authority and is unpaid.

If your ballot is similar to mine, the state committee position may be on the back page of the ballot, and if you don’t know to look for it, you might miss it.

The position of state committeeman/woman is important in as much as the committee sets the rules that govern the Republican Party of Florida. With past issues of RPOF issued credit cards being used for personal use among many Florida legislators, combined with the Jim Greer saga, good management and oversight of the RPOF is in order.

Here is a look at two of the more hotly contested races for state committeeman in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

In Hillsborough, Hoe Brown, Paul Fosse, and Travis Horn are all challenging three-term incumbent A.J. Matthews.

Matthews’ terms in office have been mostly undistinguished. At state party meetings he is known more for being something of a “class clown” than dignified committeeman. Last year at the election to select the replacement to state party chairman Dave Bitner (who died in office) Matthews nominated Ronald Reagan posthumously – citing the need to have a challenged election to Lenny Curry who was unopposed. Matthews’ nomination of Reagan was not seconded, and no one other than Matthews thought his antics were funny.

Matthews also self-servingly selected himself along with disgraced former state committeewoman Carol Carter and at least one other underserving cronie to be delegates to the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, activists who actually do something got nothing for their hard work while the party bosses got a ticket to the big event.

Travis Horn is the former executive director of the Hillsborough Republican Executive Committee. He is also a political consultant and has his law degree. Horn is well-liked in most GOP circles, but he lacks a strong connection to the community and thus, his time for this undertaking is premature.

Paul Fosse is a grassroots volunteer in GOP campaigns. He has his MBA and has, among other things, taught economics and run his own business. Despite his volunteerism, he is relatively unknown in most GOP circles.

Hoe Brown is a successful businessman who bridges the gap that normally exists between the grassroots activists who volunteer to help candidates and the tea-sipping country club Republicans who write campaign checks. In addition to running a successful business, Brown serves on the Tampa Port Authority and has a good understanding of how politics and government work. Unlike Matthews, he would treat the position seriously and has far more experience in business and politics than the rest of the field.

In Pasco, incumbent Bill Bunting faces Steve Simon.

Bunting is a gun rights advocate who is often quoted by the media in defense of Second Amendment issues. He is the kind of one issue voter that makes candidates squirm. Bunting has been known to use heavy-handed bullying tactics to get his way (perhaps learned as his days as a union shop steward in NYC), which have caused the once mighty Pasco GOP to become splintered.

Bunting is also known to “demand” party leaders and Republican candidates to “kiss the ring” of the Buntinator if they want his help in campaigns. His ego is said to arrive 20 minutes before he does wherever he goes. From having started as a “sanitation engineer” in NYC to his rise to Pasco party boss, I guess he’s got reason to be proud of his mediocre rise in stature.

The guy is a certifiable wingnut and he’s bad news for the party plain and simple.

For his part, Simon is a former Pasco County Commissioner, successful businessman and past chairman of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. Simon is low-key, gets along with others, and has a multi-point plan to make the GOP more inviting and transparent.

Steve Simon and Hoe Brown represent an opportunity for some fresh voices, new ideas, and people with real-world experience to serve on the much maligned Republican Party of Florida’s state committee. Irreverent View strongly recommends Brown and Simon.

Don’t forget to vote.

UPDATE: Steve Simon has received the endorsement of the Florida NRA! Note to Bunting: you reap what you sow.

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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6 thoughts on “Local Republicans have say in state GOP leadership races”

  1. Whew!! Why not call a spade a spade. Very to the point and pretty much what I have observed in watching this group of folks. Any change would be a great start in Hillsborough County, but I can second the Hoe Brown endorsement. Mr or Mrs Anonymous is blunt and correct on the Pasco option. Steve Simon is clearly a better choice.


  2. Bill Bunting gets what he deserves. Now The NRA is endorsing Stephen Simon for Pasco County Republican State Committeeman. Maybe Bunting can find a local militia to endorse him.


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