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Sunday, Oct 14, 2018
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Hillsborough GOP chair Deborah Tamargo to resign Tuesday

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Republican Party chair Deborah Tamargo said she will resign her position Tuesday as she faces a grievance filed against her by other party officers.

Tamargo announced her resignation in an email sent to party members on Monday evening. She wrote that she will resign at 5 p.m. Tuesday and said her departure "will hopefully end attempts made over the last couple of months to distract our committee from our mission and goals."

She told the Tampa Bay Times that she sat down with state GOP chair Blaise Ingoglia this past weekend and then decided to step down.

"We agreed there was no good outcome," Tamargo said.

In October, four officers of the local party filed a grievance with the state GOP, seeking to have Tamargo removed as chair.

The grievance arose from a debate within the local party about the location of its monthly meetings, and a seemingly minor incident of a perceived slight by Tamargo toward a speaker during the debate.

That resulted in an effort to censure Tamargo. According to the grievance, she falsely invoked the authority of the state party in opposing the censure, including bringing in a lawyer who Tamargo said was authorized by the state party to investigate.

The grievance, though, said the state party never authorized an investigation by a lawyer, and accused Tamargo of misusing the name and authority of the party. It also accused her of "an increasing frequency and severity of (party) Constitution and rules infractions."

The outcome of the October grievance has not been made public.

This dispute signals a divide within the ranks of Hillsborough Republicans as the party enters the 2018 elections. The GOP must stave off attempts by Democrats to win seats on the Hillsborough County Commission and several legislative races.

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