The race for chair of FL's Republican party: Will a 2004 DUI derail Cox-Roush?

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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.



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: [email protected].

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

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.

While drinking and driving is certainly wrong and inappropriate — it shows a reckless disregard for the life of your fellow citizens — it’s almost so commonplace you have to wonder whether her DUI will really 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.

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