Gruters Falls Short in RNC Treasurer Bid

Todays News

State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, lost his bid to become treasurer for the Republican National Committee. He lost a race for the job Friday in a 98-60 vote to K.C. Crosbie, Kentucky’s GOP national committeewoman, at a meeting in California.

Gruters hoped a close relationship with Ronna McDaniel, who was re-elected the same day to a fourth term as RNC Chair, would carry him to a win as well. But he said his late entry in December made it impossible to defeat Crosbie, who ran for the same post four years ago and has effectively been running for the job since that time.

“I knew my path to victory was a narrow path due to the lead she had when I got into the race,” Gruters said.

Of course, the Sarasota Republican remains engaged in state politics. He just won re-election to the Florida Senate, representing all of Sarasota County and part of Manatee County.

He will soon wrap his second term as chair of the Republican Party of Florida. His term was extended into February so he could seek the RNC position. But he already decided to hang up the state chairmanship in December when he chose not to run for re-election as chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota, making him ineligible for another term leading the state party.

In that race, former Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler faces Leon County Republican Party Chair Evan Power, which creates an opportunity for Sarasota to have back-to-back chairs of the state party.

But for Gruters, this marks the first time in decades where he hasn’t had a significant position within the party lined up. He can’t necessarily spend four years running, as Crosbie did, because once his state chairmanship ends, he will no longer be a voting member of the RNC.

But he remains confident Republicans can win the White House back from Democrats in 2024, when President Joe Biden faces re-election. Gruters boasts ties to two major contenders for president on the Republican side. He co-chaired the Florida arm for former President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. And he was Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pick for state party chair shortly after the Governor was elected in 2018.

Most polling suggests either Trump or DeSantis stand the greatest chance of winning the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

While Gruters lost the RNC race, he did earn accolades for his leadership of the state party. During Gruters’ tenure, successful voter registration efforts led to Republicans leading Democrats in registered voters in the state for the first time in history.

“He took a purple state and made it red,” said New Hampshire Republican Party Chair Stephen Stepanek, who seconded Gruters’ nomination for RNC treasurer.

Gruters for the moment will focus on the coming legislative session. He also runs an accounting firm based in Venice. And he said he has no desire to give any of that up right now. “I have a job. I like my job,” he said.

But he does want to play a role in party politics in the future. “I want to win in 2024,” he said.

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