Did Gruters Punch The Gold Ticket

Under The Hood

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.

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