Blaise Ingoglia’s already known.
He’s known as a Hernando County businessman.
He’s known as the vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
He’s known as the producer of Government Gone Wild, a slick, video-heavy website that harps on the evils of big government with a combination of policy-wonk stats and a sprinkling of humor (“Many politicians are so busy looking out for No. 1, they’re doing No. 2 on the rest of us.”).
Now, he wants to be known as the next state representative for Florida’s 35th District, replacing the term-limited Republican Rob Schenck.
And he’s getting a lot of early support, most recently with the endorsement of state Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Valrico, on Thursday.
On the Hernando County home front, he’s got the backing of the local power structure – three county commissioners, a school board member and the tax collector.
As the only candidate to have filed for the seat as of Friday, Ingoglia’s shoring up a lot of early support.
“I’m very humbled by the amount of support that we’ve had,” Ingoglia said in an interview. “An amazing amount of local support.”
But it’s not just local. With Raburn’s backing, Ingoglia has the official endorsements of eight House members, and four state senators. He attributes the broad acceptance of his candidacy so far to the connections he’s made in the past five years working in the party’s organization.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of the legislators, the leaders throughout the state,” he said. “They’ve seen how hard I work.”
A lot of that work mirrors what Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, promote: creating “pockets of prosperity” at the state level in an era when the federal government under President Obama has demonstrated no ability to live within its mean — and little understanding of the challenges that face small businesses, the largest source of employment in the country.
“What we have to do is make sure we’re removing the burdens to business, especially small business,” Ingoglia said. “We know the regulatory environment that’s being handed down by the federal government.”
A lot of that is due to Obamacare. And while Republicans have been divided on some ways of dealing with the federal health-care reform law – Scott and the state Senate have favored accepting federal money to expand Medicaid in Florida, for instance while Weatherford and House Republicans are unyieldingly opposed to it – Ingoglia isn’t worried about the party finding a way to work together to push its goals.
“We don’t all agree with each other,” Ingoglia said. “I think that’s what makes the party so strong. We don’t shut off debate.”
As to November 2014, Ingoglia predicted Scott will ride the steadily improving state economy of the past three years to re-election to the governor’s mansion.
And his own electoral chances?
“I never bet against myself,” he said.
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