Randy Ross

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Republican candidate, Florida House District 39

Public Service

Never held elective office. 

Occupation

Communications Consultant, Front Porch Communications Group

Education

  • Ball State University, B.A., Speech Communications, Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication, 1988

  • George Washington University, Certification, Advanced Government Contracting, 2002

Religion

N/A

Randy Ross, who was former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign chairman, is running for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 23 primary for the open seat in state House District 39. The newly formed district includes parts of Winter Garden, Ocoee, Apopka and southwestern Seminole County.


In announcing his candidacy, Ross said in a news release that healthcare for seniors would be among his priorities. “I have cared for my mother for over 25 years after her diagnosis with severe rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve been to hundreds of doctor’s appointments and filled out for [sic] medical forms than I can recall. What we are putting seniors through for basic healthcare is atrocious.  But my mom has me…. What about the thousands of seniors in District 39 who need help and guidance not to mention tens of thousands of senior Floridians that are simply being forgotten.” (Also read his interview about this topic with Florida National News.)


Other top issues include ensuring that people’s Second Amendment gun rights “are never second guessed or interfered with,” giving parents more rights regarding their children’s education, ensuring that men not participate in women’s sports and defending first responders from being defunded.


The last priority is likely a reference to the slogan “defund the police,” which was common during protests against the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. There is little evidence that any city has defunded first responders, according to one study. “Parent’s rights” is likely a reference to a broad right-wing, conservative culture movement aimed at rolling back federal civil rights protections for Black, Brown and LGBTQ students, banning certain types of curricula, and eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, among other items (see also this story and another story about the issue).


Known as a community activist, Ross also has been a radio host, a board member with the American Red Cross of Central Florida, the Community Health Centers of Central Florida and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, among others. He also unsuccessfully ran for previous campaigns including for a seat on the Orlando City Commission, reported Florida Politics.


The Financial Times reported that Ross was an ex-Democrat who donated money to Hillary’s Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign and then supported President Barack Obama after Clinton dropped out. But it said that Ross was frustrated by Obama and the Democrats, who were focusing on social issues instead of the economy, foreign policy and “rampant illegal immigration.”

Multiple outlets including the FT also reported that Ross pleaded guilty in 2015 to insurance fraud for “falsely claiming that $35,000 worth of lawn furniture had been stolen from his Orlando home, an incident he prefers not to talk about.”

As an openly gay man, Ross has been active on gay issues in Orlando. In a 2021 Spectrum News 13 story about his perspective about the Pulse nightclub mass shooting, Ross said his sexuality is a part of him and not his identity. “I'm a gay man,” said Ross. “I like men. That's what I — you know. It doesn't mean that I'm a bad person because I not only happen to support Trump, but I support our governor (Ron DeSantis).”


On abortion, Ross is not as staunchly anti-abortion as his primary opponents, Doug Bankson and Charles Hart. At a July 12 forum held by the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida attended by Ross and the other GOP candidates, he “called himself ‘a pro-life person as well,’ but allowed for exceptions, and did not call for a full ban at conception,” reported Florida Politics.


“When it comes to rape and incest, I have to differ with my opponent,” Ross said. “I do believe there are circumstances, obviously an emergency situation with the life of the mother.”

— Dibya Sarkar