POLITICS
12/28/2010 10:14 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Florida GOP Chair Candidate Explains DUI Arrest

The quest to become Florida's next Republican Party chair became more difficult for Deborah Cox-Roush this week when a 2004 driving-under-the-influence arrest resurfaced, forcing her to explain the incident.

Cox-Roush, currently chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Republican Party, released a letter regarding the 2004 episode this weekend, as a preemptive measure.

In it, she claimed she was returning home from the St. Pete Times Forum, after watching the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team win the Stanley Cup, when she was pulled over at a DUI checkpoint set up by Tampa police, The St. Petersburg Times reports. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office website, Cox-Roush had a blood alcohol level of 0.163, more than twice the .08 legal limit.

"If anybody in their life hasn't made a mistake, let them throw stones at me," she wrote in the letter, according to the Times. "It's a shame we're not talking about the victories we had in November and the issues we have as we go into 2012."

Cox-Roush then alleged that someone was targeting her because of her contender status.

"There is someone in this race who is assuming I'm the front-runner and they can't talk about the issues so they want to talk about me," Cox-Roush said. "It's a shame that someone has made this race so personal."

Florida GOP leaders will convene next month to choose a new chairman.

The Florida Republican Party has been rocked by scandal over the past year. Former Chairman Jim Greer was ousted in April amid a high-profile federal investigation into his and other officials' use of state credit cards. In June, Greer was arrested on charges of fraud, felony, grand theft, and money laundering.