Broward Republicans reboot for future

Broward Republicans and their new chairman are undergoing some critical self-analysis to avoid a 2014 repeat of last year's disaster when Republicans lost all the critical, contested races in the county.

One of their dreams: turning overwhelmingly Democratic Broward into a county with a Republican majority.

Tom Truex, who took over the party leadership in March, announced that extremely ambitious long-term goal to more than 100 party activists Monday night.

How ambitious is Truex's goal? As of Tuesday, Broward has 589,375 Democrats, 255,949 Republicans, and 289,471 independent/no party affiliation voters and people registered in assorted third parties.

He didn't offer a timetable and conceded it wouldn't happen overnight.

Mitch Ceasar, the county Democratic chairman, said Tuesday it wasn't likely to happen ever. "I admire people with goals, no matter how distant and unattainable."

Truex, a former Davie mayor, said his top priority is identifying candidates and helping them win local offices. "The bottom line is we've got to elect Republicans," he said.

Progress on the goals is almost guaranteed, he acknowledged. "We know that as Republicans, to some extent we have nowhere to go but up." In November, Republicans lost the Sheriff's Office to the Democrats, along with hotly contested elections for Congress and state Senate.

Truex said it's obvious new approaches are needed. "We know that what Republicans did in this county, nationwide and statewide, we know that what Republicans did the last time didn't yield the results we would like to see."

Local Republicans heard a similar message from Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Hernando County Republican Party and vice chairman of the state party.

"When people asked me what happened last November, why did we lose, I break it down like this: We got outworked, we got out-messaged and we got out-organized. And to put it bluntly: We got our clocks cleaned," Ingoglia said.

He said the Republicans need to learn from Democrats' use of social media and micro-targeting of small groups of voters. By contrast, he said, "the Republican Party is basically campaigning with VCRs in an iPod world."

He doesn't buy the prescription from some quarters that Republicans need to change their message. "We do not need to change our message. We need to change the way we deliver that message. We in the Republican Party do not have a message problem. We have a marketing problem," he said.

Among Truex's plans are teams devoted to grassroots organizing and social media. To help with the long-term goal of turning Broward Republican, the county party is supporting establishment of a countywide group for teenage Republicans.

Video of Republican contractor who hopes to unseat Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel at or 954-356-4550

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