Broward Politics: Rico Petrocelli Wants To Be GOP Chair…Again





The celebration over Donald Trump’s victory barely ended when Broward Republicans started squabbling over who will be the next local party chair.

Former chair Rico Petrocelli wants his old job back, according to several GOP sources.




Rico Petrocelli


There is a problem. Activist Bob Sutton is sitting firmly in GOP chair’s seat.

If Petrocelli goes through with his plans to challenge Sutton, it will trigger an inner-party brawl.

Petrocelli could not be reached for comment.

Petrocelli held the chairman’s job for roughly 12 weeks before resigning in early 2013 over “irreconcilable differences” with other GOP directors.

The election by Broward Republican Party precinct committee members for the chair will be in December. GOP chairs serve two-year terms.

Incoming Broward state committeeman Richard DeNapoli, another former local GOP chair, has a record of supporting winners in internal party elections. He hasn’t decided yet whether to back Petrocelli or Sutton.

“Every candidate that I have personally supported has won their election inside the BREC.That includes Chip LaMarca for Chair, Cindy Guerra for Chair, myself and Colleen Stolberg in 2010, Rico Petrocelli for Chair along with his slate in 2012, Christine Butler and her slate in 2014, Rico for State Committeeman in 2015, and Bob Sutton for Chair in 2015. I consider both Rico Petrocelli and Bob Sutton to be friends.  I haven’t made up my mind … yet.  I guess I’ll keep you and everyone else in suspense,” DeNapoli wrote

BREC is the abbreviation for the Broward Republican Executive Committee, the formal name of the party organization.

Other GOP committee members have made up their mind. Former School Board member Kevin Tynan is supporting Sutton and his board because “he has restored civility to our BREC meetings and has a clear vision on how to restore the local party.”

Although Democrats control local elections and set the agenda at the County Commission and School Board, a savvy Republican chair could still play a significant role in Broward.

The GOP chair could use their position as a bully pulpit to influence local affairs through the media. They could also use their GOP cred to influence appointments by Republican Gov. Rick Scott and perhaps by President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

Yet the GOP power has been largely unrealized. No Republican chair since Ed Pozzuoli in the 1990s has played a major role in Broward politics or government.

For all his Republican activism, Petrocelli remains a controversial figure for some GOP insiders. During his short reign as chair, Petrocelli drew criticism for receiving commissions for party contributions he obtained.

Petrocelli is a former Plantation commission. He and DeNapoli lost countywide races earlier this month to the Broward Soil & Water District board.




20 Responses to “Broward Politics: Rico Petrocelli Wants To Be GOP Chair…Again”

  1. Norm Price says:

    I have known Rico for quite a few years and he stays active in helping in many ways and I feel he is very qualified and your comment is so wrong saying The GOP chair could use their position as a bully pulpit to influence local affairs. That is sooooooo wrong


    As Republican chair, Ed Pozzuoli took public positions on single members districts and other issues, speaking at public meetings and to the media frequently. His cogent arguments received a lot of attention because he was well-spoken and represented roughly 250,000 voters. During the time he was chair, the Republican Party was part of the debate on public issues.

    Maybe Pozzuoli is unusual in that he is a gifted speaker, a talent honed in courtrooms and boardrooms. He was also extremely comfortable talking to people with opposing views and reporters. He frequently debated Democratic Chair Mitch Ceasar, another able speaker, and handled himself well. He was the perfect face of the opposition party in Broward.

    Chip LaMarca, George LeMieux and Kevin Tynan also were effective, but they didn’t have the presence of Pozzuoli.

    The GOP chair still represents a lot of voters. The chair could turn that into positive attention for the party. Or at least attention.

    The local party in recent years has become insular, afraid of talking to the media and telling its story to the growing ranks of independents and party switching Democrats. That is suicide in a county so heavily Democratic.

  2. Error says:

    “Petrocelli held the chairman’s job for 12 weeks before resigning in early 2013 over “irreconcilable differences” with other GOP directors.”

    I think you meant to put a year in this paragraph…


    I have no idea what you mean. The paragraph clearly states that he resigned “in early 2013.”

    Here is the first paragraph of Tony Man’s story from the Feb. 20, 2013 Sun-Sentinel:

    “Less than 12 weeks after winning a hard-fought battle to become Broward Republican Chairman, Rico Petrocelli quit on Tuesday”

    Petrocelli was elected chair in December, 2012.

  3. Just Saying says:

    “No Republican chair since Ed Pozzuoli in the 1990s has played a major role in Broward politics or government”

    Except the only Republican County Commissioner on the dais.


    Chip LaMarca was surely more visible than the last few chairs.

  4. GOPapa says:

    Rico is one of the most dedicated Republicans working here today.

  5. Hassein Obama says:

    I agree. The party needs to do something. It is a weak sister in this county and has become irrelevant.

  6. NW Broward MODC says:

    Mr. Petrocelli has earned the respect and support of many parents of the disabled in NW Broward District# 4. We are very hopeful that Mr.DeNapoli will support him as well.

  7. New Blood says:

    I support Rico but I believe he should reach out to Bill Lewis to be his Vice Chair. Ms. Cooley is a very nice and capable woman but still green.

    Bill Lewis is a master of Facebook and if he did a request of his FB friends to join BREC, the rolls would double. He did a great job engineering the win for Judge Contini 2 years ago. Also, Bill Lewis is well known around the state in Republican politics as well as the Trump people. Finally, he is a single dad who is raising really nice kids, he would provide a great example to people.

  8. calfloridia says:

    I agree with Kevin Tynan 100%! Rico is an affable person but a financial train wreck. I will not be supporting him for BREC Chair. We went down this road before and we where all very disappointed in the results.

  9. Why Bill Lewis says:

    While Rico has financial issues, Bill Lewis is renowned for being good with money and he runs a successful credit repair business. A Rico/Bill Lewis administration brings Rico’s vast institutional knowledge combined with Lewis, a successful business person, it is similar to Trump and Pence.


    I agree to your comments about Bill Lewis. One problem: He no longer lives in Broward County.

  10. FB friend says:

    It appears on Facebook he lives downtown and his business in Davie. Too bad if he moved to Vero. BREC’s loss.

    Come back Bill!

  11. Stating the Obvious says:

    Petrocelli and DeNapoli – what a pair. Petrocell had the job of Chair and bugged out after 3 months causing disruption and strife. Why the flightiness? DeNapoli was Chairman – and GOP slid to dead last in registration. This year he spent $50,000.00 of his own money to get elected State Committeeman, a volunteer position. A matched pair OF LOSERS. Keep away from both of them.

  12. In the know says:

    Rico’s financial issues are in the distant past. He’s retired and on social security now…and people on the inside know that it was his board that was the problem when he served as chair in late 2012-early 2013. Rico was elected State Committeeman in 2015 and has done a good job. Rico has a proven record of raising money for BREC, and never took any commissions while he was Chair. That’s just a BS accusation. One thing that will show on the financial records of BREC is that the current board takes money for itself in expenses like hotel rooms, etc. And you can see that Treasurer Gingerich was paid $2900 for the use of his office space from BREC funds from Sept through Nov 2016. One of the BREC victory offices was based out of there.

  13. Stating the more obvious says:

    @11 – GOP went to third in registration before DeNapoli became chair. Check the book closing reports and you will see that. And DeNapoli was the one who warned about it happening before it actually happened, so don’t shoot the messenger. Get your facts straight. As far as him spending money, you sound a wee bit jealous.

  14. BREC Member says:

    I heard from very reliable sources that the current secretary refuses to run again because of the scheming and rule breaking she saw on the board in the last term. She is being quiet about it but is obviously fed up and outnumbered. From what I have heard there is a lot of merit to her complaints. Something to think about.

  15. Exactly why we need Bill Lewis says:

    The current BREC situation calls for an outsider to come in and cut through the bullshit to bring positive change like President Trump. Enough whiners, lets make winners. Make BREC Great Again

  16. BREC member says:

    Our records show Rico received over $75,000.00 just for doing the job that we all do for free. It reeks of the appearance of impropriety and once again, the man has serious financial issues that drag down the party. Train wreck!

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    A County Committee is only as good as its membership n unity no matter what party.When rich guys outside a Party win primaries that tells you how good tge membership is.

  18. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Buddy, now that a lot of “Anonymous” cowards have posted, I guess it’s my time to chime in with real info.

    Supposedly your readers are informed politically and will understand. For those who don’t, well, I can’t help you..

    BREC has 236 Voting members for this upcoming election, those who turned in papers to the SOE and the RPOF (Ours Never made it)as a result the RPOF will be monitoring this election. As I said 236 members, now doesn’t it seem strange that Dolly Rump, the Head of the Trump Team in Broward, and her many, many Volunteers are having issues enough for her to Run against Bob Sutton? These decisions are not made quickly.

    At the same time Lauren Cooley, the front line person of a PAC, who is the future of BREC, and has so much support in BREC is having similar and different issues with BREC Administration, enough to talk to Dolly Rump, and agree there needs Political change at BREC

    Hold on now, Kevin Moot is in a race in Weston, which he is giving 100% of his time, family and strength. He knows Dolly & Lauren, and the 3 now have the same issues with the BREC Board, enough to run against the Board to make change.

    3 Individuals, all respected individually, and as a group. Now they look for a 4th to complete the slate which was always about making BREC a Political Group, and that ONLY!

    How many people, with experience politically, are out there to complete the slate? How many in BREC are willing to put themselves under an “Umbrella” of gossip, and personal attacks to lead this Slate towards the future of BREC? This Board consists of each individual having areas of expertise, all coming together.

    Let’s think this out, you don’t think we expected attacks? I have had Plantation campaigns that were deemed the “Ugliest” ever. I have had the kitchen sink thrown at me, yet these 3 and many other BREC members are LOOKIN PAST gossip, etc and understand politically, that WE make the Best Choice for the Future of BREC I am honored to be running for Chair again with this group.

    So, this isn’t a Rico thing, it’s a “Coalition” of Political Members (Sun-Sentinel, Anthony Man) looking for Different Leadership. I am Proud to be with them all, Dolly, Lauren & Kevin.

    Now to #16: If you have been around anytime, Buddy & every longtime reader, and most Politicians in Broward, all the way to Tallahassee know that from 2010-2012 I was BREC’s Executive Director, and YES it was a PAID “Full Time” position.

    I was paid $36,000 per year, which is basically a living wage. I appreciated it, and so did the members, ask those around from 2010 and earlier. During those 2 years we raised over $385,000- so I would say that is a good rate of return.

    My Employment was announced at BREC, and everyone was happy to have a full time E.D. To this day BREC Members ask why we don’t have a Full Time Executive Director….that’s because our fundraising is down under the current BREC Leadership

    Some of you were not around or actively involved during that time, so maybe you don’t know.

    As far as $75,000 (2×36= $72,000) in the past BREC Boards have paid commissions to some of us who can actually raise funds. The checks come form the Treasurer, and are all voted on. I’m retired now so there are NO financial situations..

    So Buddy, thanks for the space, Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family……

    Rico Petrocelli
    Plantatiion Councilman 2005-2009
    Gov Appt Comissioner, to Broward Housing
    Executive Director 2010-2012
    Past Chairman of BREC
    State Committeeman of BREC

  19. Q is for Quitter says:

    Rico you had the job and quit while you were barely into your first term. You didn’t quit for personal or financial issues, you quit because you said you could not work with the Officers who were on your slate.

    Leaders do not quit because they can’t get along with others. They forge ahead and try to create a consensus.

    You were trusted to lead. How did you repay those who supported you? You turned tail and ran.

    All of the points you raised above meaningless in light of the fact that you are a quitter.

  20. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Anybody who thinks 35 K for a job is a decent wage is a miron. Anyone thinking 35 K for an exevutive director is adequate is a fool.