RNC Chair? Gruters Deserves Trump's Consideration

Under The Hood

Photo courtesy Facebook: Joe Gruters and Donald Trump.

Joe Gruters couldn’t stay out of party politics long. He’s expected today to win a race for national committeeman, making him one of three Republicans representing the state within the Republican National Committee. he could also grab now for one of the biggest brass rings in politics.

Rumors mounted in the last week that Ronna McDaniel, the current RNC Chair, offered to step down and to let Donald Trump, the likely 2024 presidential nominee, put a confidante in charge of the national party. With Gruters already seeking an RNC position, with Trump’s endorsement no less, he immediately emerged as a possible choice.

He hasn’t tamped down whispers, though he’s made clear he will follow Trump’s lead.

“Whenever you’re even mentioned for something like that it’s pretty spectacular, but at the end of the day the president’s continuing to build his team so we can win in November and I support wherever he goes,” Gruters said.

What’s going for the Sarasota pol? For one, he recently made another run for an RNC officership. In his last weeks as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Gruters ran for national treasurer, though he was always an underdog and ultimately lost. Still, the experience meant he campaigning with many of the RNC members who have a vote.

That said, it’s a presidential year, and there’s ultimately one real voter when picking an RNC Chair. If Trump picks a favorite choice to lead the RNC, that person leads the RNC.  On that front, Gruters can point to years of loyalty to the once-and-future nominee.

In 2016, Gruters became an early voice in Florida politics endorsing Trump, back when he seemed a longshot for the GOP nomination. Then the Republican Party of Sarasota Chair and a candidate for state Representative, Gruters’ biggest claim in state politics at the time had been a willingness to support Rick Scott early in a run for Governor. Like that bet, putting chips on Trump paid off for Gruters, and he delivered results for Trump in return.

Gruters co-chaired the Florida arm of Trump’s campaign. The operation managed to win Florida in the Primary over former Gov. Jeb Bush and sitting Sen. Marco Rubio. Then the nearly unimaginable happened and Trump won Florida in November, essentially sealing his victory over Hillary Clinton.

Two years later, Gov. Ron DeSantis tapped Gruters to head the state party. He did so spectacularly through both the 2020 presidential election, when Florida was one of two states where Trump improved his vote share. Then he helped DeSantis win re-election in 2022. Along the way, he secured Florida Republicans a voter registration advantage over Democrats for the first time in state history.

When another contest of Florida men emerged in the current nomination fight, Gruters became the first state lawmaker to endorse Trump over DeSantis. Since then, DeSantis folded and Trump has the nod all but sewn up.

But this could be a more complicated climb to the top still. First, Gruters previously showed loyalty to McDaniel, so he needs her to step aside before considering the run. It’s also a hard metric to compare Gruters to other contenders like North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley, who still heads a party in a true swing state. Granted, Gruters can lay a realistic claim Florida no longer looks purple thanks to his own hard work. And there may yet be another candidate who emerges.

But sources tell me Gruters, despite a fairly moderate record as a state Senator, enjoyes some enthusiasm from the far-right. Steve Bannon, an influential podcaster, former White House strategist and one-time Sarasota resident (on paper at least), reportedly favors Gruters. And if Trump wants an RNC director he can connect with, it’s a shorter commute from Sarasota to Mar-a-Lago than to North Carolina.

Ultimately, this all comes down to the preference of one of the least predictable figures in modern politics. But if Gruters is given the chance to make his case to Trump, he certainly has one to make.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media.

Photo courtesy Facebook: Joe Gruters and Donald Trump.

« View The Saturday Feb 10, 2024 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Roxie Jerde | Mar 2, 2024

Celebrate and Support Student Resilience and Well-Being

Celebrate and Support Student Resilience and Well-Being

Jennifer Vigne | Mar 2, 2024

Education Critical to Industry Throughout Region

Education Critical to Industry Throughout Region

Mary Dougherty | Feb 24, 2024

The Political Price of Strange Bedfellows

The Political Price of Strange Bedfellows

Jacob Ogles | Feb 24, 2024