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Sarasota GOP boss eyes state party chair

Put JoeGruters Sarasota County Republican Chairman Joe Gruters in among probably 66 other county GOP heads wondering if they might be the next state party boss.

Hillborough Co. Chair Deborah Cox Roush has already said she's in on the January race to replace John Thrasher.

But Gruters, pictured right, could have a leg up if Rick Scott wins the governor's race and assumes control of the state party. Gruters was one of the few county leaders who went out of his way for Scott during the primary, helping organize an event attended by 400+ (although the free pie helped) and firing off a letter urging his fellow Republicans to back off their calls to "Release the Deposition."

"If Rick were victorious, I would certainly take a long look at it," Gruters said when asked about his interest in the job.

"If you look at Sarasota, we're light years ahead on communications," he said. "We crushed everyone in rallies and for four consecutive weeks we've been No. 1 in the state in the number of calls from our volunteers."

Gruters, a former Sarasota Young Republicans president, is a 33-year-old accountant who has deep ties to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key. Gruters has been Buchanan's political director and was his campaign manager in 2008. Gruters remains Buchanan's campaign treasurer and Buchanan also employs Gruters' wife.