Going bipartisan

By William March, May 20, 2015 Tampa Bay Times

Tiger Bay Clubs, bipartisan political discussion groups that pride themselves on lobbing tough questions at public officials, are a significant source of political news in Florida.

But the Tampa club has long been smaller and less influential than its St. Pete counterpart, the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

One reason, at least in the view of some Republicans, is that the Tampa Club is too Democratic. Attendees usually are mostly Dems.

Rising legislative star Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, says she hasn’t been interested in speaking at what she considered “a Democratic club.”

“I know a lot of people that have been asked to speak from a more conservative viewpoint have been treated rudely by the attendees,” she said.

The club’s new president, Chris Ingram, a Republican with mavericky views, says he wants to change the image. He’s recruiting new members, particularly Republicans. GOP State Attorney Mark Ober and Tax Collector Doug Belden just joined.

Young called that “excellent news.”

The Tampa club meets on third Fridays at the Ferguson Law Center downtown.