Here’s someone you probably don’t recognize.
His name is Blaise Ingoglia and, barring the weirdest of weird, he’ll be our next state senator.
This photo was taken several years ago in Lecanto when Ingoglia was conducting “Government Gone Wild” events where he ranted about Congress for an hour and folks ranted right along.
I really don’t know much about Ingoglia. He’s a Spring Hill home builder and once headed the Hernando County Republican Party.
In 2014 he ran for State House and won; the next year he won chairmanship of the Florida Republican Party, where he served four years. (Here is an excellent story about Ingoglia's rise in Florida politics.)
Term limits stopped him from going for the House again, so he announced his run for Senate District 11 in the anticipated showdown with Rep. Ralph Massullo, the Lecanto Republican.
I figured the election would give us time to get to know Ingoglia, but that blew up when Gov. Ron DeSantis gave Ingoglia his blessing, setting off a chain of events that led to Massullo’s easy re-election, Rebecca Bays elected to the county commission and voters deciding a Senate race between two people from Hernando County.
It’s not a real choice, the way Ingoglia vs. Massullo would have been. His opponent is Brian Moore, a nice enough fellow who is representing the Green Party in this particular contest.
Unlike fake NPAs or third-party candidates who get on the ballot just to gunk up the process, Moore actually believes what he espouses, though I just read about how even the Greens are distancing themselves from Moore.
Despite his well-intended interest in fringe politics, Moore didn’t run for Senate because he wanted to be in the Legislature or had some particular beef with Ingoglia. His Senate campaign came about at the last minute because Moore didn’t have enough to pay the qualifying fee — for governor.
Moore wins SD 11 only if Ingoglia does something so heinous that voters in a solid red district would choose the Green guy instead, or Ingoglia meets his Maker. Those are Moore’s two paths to victory on Election Day.
That means in real life we’re talking about future Sen. Ingoglia.
I could do a lot of research on his bills and votes, but most people really don’t care about that these days. I will say he is solidly Republican and somewhat a political visionary.
It started with his Government Gone Wild seminars.
Ingoglia is a bit of a ham, a helluva speaker. He’s also a professional poker player, and can read a room.
Harkening to 2010, Ingoglia had two of these anti-government rallies in Lecanto and it was pretty impressive. We didn’t know this guy from Adam’s house cat, but 90 minutes later folks in that room were ready to follow him anywhere.
These things never happen in a vacuum and, like any political change, it starts with passion, often driven by anger or indignation.
Ingoglia fed right into it.
“I’m going to blame everybody, because everybody put us in this mess!” he said that night.
Wasteful spending, greedy politicians, billions, trillions flitted away like confetti by public servants who are just looking to line their own pockets.
Attendees were nearly frothing after an hour of this. One man asked Ingoglia what they’re supposed to do to stop this crazy government.
Ingoglia said: “We’re going to vote out the wasteful spenders, that’s what we’re going to do!”
Two hundred people left that night grumpy and knowing who to blame. This is how politics works. (Government Gone Wild is now an Ingoglia PAC; when I checked Sunday night, it had net $1.1 million on hand.)
All that said, I haven’t a clue what Sen. Ingoglia will be like for Citrus County. We tend not to get into the weeds here of our legislator’s voting record, and instead look for that person to support funding for local projects. It’s really local for Citrus County and the Legislature, and little doubt that will change.
But for the first time since the fiery Nancy Argenziano, Citrus County is about to get a senator who doesn’t hold back. Better hang on.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.