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SRQ DAILY Mar 30, 2024

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"As a voter, please become informed. "

- Mary Dougherty, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.

[Under The Hood]  Did Gruters Punch The Gold Ticket
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Joe Gruters this week picked up what could be a major endorsement for a race for Chief Financial Officer. Maybe. Well, it could at least will give Gruters a headstart on becoming Sarasota’s first statewide elected official in decades.

Donald Trump, the former president and presumptive 2024 nominee, gave predictive support to the Sarasota Republican.

I am hearing that America First Patriot Joe Gruters is considering launching his Campaign for Chief Financial Officer of the Great State of Florida. Joe was on the ‘Trump Train’ before it even left the station and, if he decides to run, he will have my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “As a State Senator and Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Joe has done more than anyone to help turn Florida RED, and elect Republicans across the State. A decorated CPA, Joe is a ‘ROCKSTAR,’ who will work hard to Grow our Economy, Stop Illegal Immigration, Strongly Support Law Enforcement, and Protect our always under siege Second Amendment. RUN JOE, RUN! This is an Endorsement I would love to make.”

Gruters, who has been closely allied with Trump for more than a decade now, of course embraced the support. “President Trump is the Rockstar and I am so thankful to have his support,” Gruters said. “We are going to win back the White House and bring back America First policies!”

More important in a way, Gruters after the endorsement hinted he will make his own decision whether to run for CFO “soon.” My guess, though, is this endorsement wouldn’t have come if Gruters mind wasn’t pretty much made up. 

So what good will that endorsement be if or when Gruters runs for CFO in 2026? Well, ask me in 10 months. The results of the presidential election will play a role in what capital Trump possesses. Everyone should know by now that predicting the political fortunes of Donald Trump is a fool’s errand. Whether he becomes political kryptonite by year’s end seems an open question. Or maybe he’ll be more popular than ever. Heck, history shows us that even if he wins a return ticket to the White House, his presence in D.C. could yet become toxic to Republicans by the Midterms (ask Margaret Good or James Buchanan about that).

But predicting anything about November 2026, to the extent that’s a worthwhile tarot-reading exercise at all, sort of misses the point. Florida has become an increasingly red state, really over 20 years. It’s hard to imagine a Republican losing the CFO post, of all posts, in the near future (though you can ask Alex Sink about whether those trends can be defied as well).

The real question is whether Gruters in the next two years can make himself the indisputable frontrunner for the Republican nomination for CFO.  Here, Trump’s endorsement seems like the only one that matters right now. Even when Trump’s political fortune overall goes down, his capital within GOP circles remains high. 

The one big wrench may be that Florida’s other big Republican voice, Gov. Ron DeSantis, hasn't showed much love for Gruters lately. Gruters was, after all, the first state lawmaker to endorse Trump over DeSantis for President. But the governor's political capital seems in an inevitable decline unlikely to end soon.

At least for now, Gruters has the golden ticket for the GOP nod. That gives him a headstart on fundraising whenever he throws his hat in the ring. Should he secure the GOP nomination, by no means should he stop fighting, but he should be able to win statewide.

Jacob Ogles is contribution senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

[GCBX]  Factcheck Before You Vote
Mary Dougherty, Marydougherty@gcbx.org

Well, it’s “silly season” again. That time once every two years when your mailbox will be filled with shiny brochures, TV ads will be running and, in recent years, you get more and more text messages telling you about the candidates running for office.

Candidates will be vying for your vote and since local government is the one closest to the people, I will focus on local elections— especially since this is also where you have the greatest opportunity to get to know the candidates and become knowledgeable about the issues.

There is nothing wrong with candidates getting information out to voters. This is how you run a race to get elected. I would say it’s the candidate’s job to inform voters regarding the reasons they are running for office, what they plan to accomplish if they are elected to office and even why they are a better choice than their opponent. They can also highlight issues their opponent may have that would affect your opinion and ultimately your vote. As long as they are honest and factual. That’s where things get messy.

Sometimes what a candidate (or Political Committees supporting candidates) may say about their opponent is misleading, taken out of context or even an outright falsehood.

Running for office is not easy and frankly, I think we should be grateful to those that take on this endeavor to represent us in our democracy. But we should also expect that they will handle themselves with integrity and honesty from the onset of the campaign through their time in office. It is easy to say the “campaign consultant” thought something was a good idea or as the candidate I can’t interact with a Political Committee, but the candidate sets the tone and the boundaries and ultimately the buck stops with them. If they want your vote, they owe you the respect to run a dignified campaign.

Let’s face facts. What I describe above is a perfect world scenario. We all know this is not happening all the time, so voters have responsibilities, too. Don’t take everything at face value. Do your research. Just like you read labels at the grocery store rather than falling for flashy marketing, do your research on candidates. The candidates’ consultants have done their research, and they know exactly what words, phrases and images will evoke the desired response from you. Don’ t fall for it.

Most candidates will get out in public and attend forums to speak to groups of voters. Make it a point to attend these forums to hear what the candidates have to say and ask them questions. If you get a piece of mail and you are skeptical, call the candidate or the opponent to factcheck the information. Contact information can be found on paperwork they filed with the Supervisor of Elections. 

Certainly, do not believe every text message you receive about a candidate’s opponent being endorsed by certain groups that cause you to be outraged. I remember this happening in a local race where a text message was sent saying certain national groups had endorsed a candidate and it was blatantly false. Pause for a moment when you receive these messages and ask yourself why this national group would be so interested in this local race? In another race south of us, a text message went out on election day saying the candidate had dropped out of the race. Again, false.

As a voter, please become informed. Please factcheck and please ensure that your precious vote is cast in a manner that is completely in line with what you support and not what you have been manipulated into thinking.

I can promise you that at the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), when we see false or misleading information going out about any of our endorsed candidates, we will do our best to ensure GCBX members receive factual information. That is our responsibility and our commitment to GCBX members.

Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. 

Image courtesy Pixabay.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Business Networking and Cowork Session , August 22 – June 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Attention all business professionals. Join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event every Tuesday at Out and About Coffee in downtown Sarasota. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. O and A Coffee Supply, 1316 Main St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Lets Connect at Oscura in Old Manatee , August 31 – December 26, 8:30-10am

Connect with local business owners at every Thursday at Oscura. Lets Connect is a community of collaborative business professionals from the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend, admission is free.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Collaborative Coworking Meetup at UTC , September 1 – December 27, 11am-4pm

Attention all business professionals, join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event at Panera Bread at the UTC Mall every Friday. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. Panera Bread, 215 N. Cattlemen Road, Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch , September 3 – September 30, 10am-2pm

Experience some of the best food and flavors of the region with more than 100, and still growing, curated vendors. The Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch has fast become a favorite weekly tradition for people from all over the region seeking farm-fresh produce, delicious prepared foods, and specialty items and gifts. Aside from all the goodies you can shop at the Farmers Market, find your flow in a free yoga class or have the kiddos get creative during weekly-hosted workshops. 1561 Lakefront Dr., Lakewood Ranch.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bradenton Market Returns , October 7 – May 25, 9am-2pm

Realize Bradenton is happy to announce the return of the Bradenton Market to its weekly schedule. This beloved community gathering will be held Saturdays through May 25, 2024 from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm on Old Main Street in Bradenton. Founded in 1979, the Market has expanded to include more than 90 local vendors. In addition to the weekly shopping and music, the Market hosts special event days throughout the season. Halloween at the Market will be held on Saturday, October 28. This family-friendly event includes trick or treating with vendors, face painting with Manatee School for the Arts Academic Team from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, and a dance performance by Slick Motion Studios at 10:00 am. For more information, visit RealizeBradenton.com.

[SOON]  FOOD: Late Night Happy Hour at Geckos on Hillview Street , November 29 – May 31, 10pm-Midnight
Join your friends, after-work buddies and the team at Geckos for our new Late Night Happy Hours. Every Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to Midnight, we will offer food, wine, cocktails and beer specials sure to prolong your weekend fun. Join us and ask your friendly barkeep or server about our Late Night Happy Hours. ONLY at Geckos on Hillview Street in Southside Village. GeckosGrill.com.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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