GOP power broker Ralph Hughes dies

06/30/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Ralph Hughes, One of the most influential power brokers in Hillsborough County politics in recent times, has died at the age of 77.

The owner of concrete and construction material manufacturers, Hughes was, in the words former County Commissioner Joe Chillura, “the father of conservatism in Hillsborough County."

A year and a half ago, Creative Loafing said Hughes helped raise more than $23,000 for local politicians in 2006, the third most of any company or individual in local campaigns.

He provided financial support to every member of the currrent County Commission except Rose Ferlita. And in recent years, he had created a political action committee, called Let's Make the World a Better Place Because We Have Been Here, and provided it with a million dollars in seed money.

Patrick Mantiega, editor and publisher of La Gaceta newspaper published in Ybor City, says that as a Democrat, he fiercely opposed Hughes on most issues, but always respected him.

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