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Sen. Anitere Flores in Joe Gruters corner.

Miami Sen. Anitere Flores is backing Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters in the crowded (and nasty) race for Republican Party of Florida chair. A number of other current and former senators are also in Gruters corner, such as Senate Pro Tem Mike Bennett and Sen. Steven Wise (full list and press statement is below**) 

Flores' endorsement isn't too much of a surprise. Gruters is drawing support from young, up-and-coming Republicans and Flores fits the description to a T as she rises in power and stature in her first year serving in the Florida Senate, where she serves as Republican whip. Today, she kicks off three days of hearings into immigration reform, a potentially thankless and politically explosive task.

Flores was tapped last month by Senate President Mike Haridopolos to sit on the Republican Executive Committee along with nine other senators (list here). Outgoing chair and current Sen. John Thrasher, though, appears to be leaning toward Deb Cox-Roush, whom he introduced to Haridopolos prior to the Christmas holidays.

Here's some background on all the shenanigans, etc. in the race for chair and the party itself. **Here's the announcement:

**Joe Gruters announces the endorsements of Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), Senate Majority Whip Anitere Flores (R-Miami), Senator Steve Wise (R-Jacksonville) and former Senators Tim Deratany (R-Orlando), Lisa Carlton (R-Sarasota), and Pat Neal (R-Bradenton).

“We need Joe Gruters’ bold, innovative, conservative leadership at the RPOF,” said Senate Majority Whip Anitere Flores. “Joe’s just the leader our party needs to build a sustaining majority.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Bennett explained, “The RPOF needs a leader like Joe Gruters.  His proven experience running campaigns, raising funds, and communicating our conservative message will be an asset as RPOF Chairman.”

 “Joe Gruters is a trusted conservative and proven leader,” said Senator Steve Wise. “Joe’s authentic conservatism, devotion to the grassroots, and clear direction for our party is a refreshing change.”

 Senator Lisa Carlton, former State President Pro Tempore commented, “Joe Gruters’ has the experience and energetic leadership Florida Republicans have been waiting for.  He’s a solid conservative and a unifying leader who will lead the GOP to victory in 2012.”

Former Senator Tim Deratany said, “Joe Gruters is a breath of fresh air for the RPOF.  He’s a successful REC Chairman, businessman, fundraiser and campaign manager.  There could be no better choice to help rebuild the RPOF than Joe Gruters.”

 Pat Neal, former State Senator and Chairman of the Christian Coalition of Florida stated, "Gruters’ abilities to raise funds, communicate to voters, as well as expand and excite our base are desperately needed in Tallahassee.”

 Joe Gruters is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota (RPOS). Traditionally, Sarasota County is a “swing county” where Republicans struggled in the 2006 and 2008 cycles.  As Chairman, Joe used his 17 years of experience raising millions of dollars and managing campaigns to improve the RPOS.  As a result, Republicans were victorious in every single race in Sarasota County. Additionally, RPOS was the top performer in the state in turnout, GOTV efforts, absentee ballot returns, volunteer coordination, and new media outreach.

 An accountant by trade, Joe Gruters pledges to institute fiscal controls within the Republican Party of Florida. As RPOF Chairman, Joe will focus on fundraising, communications, and ensure that each and every county in the state is equipped with the proper training and tools to build a permanent majority.



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GOP Mike

Joe Gruters = Vern Buchannan plant. If you thought Greer was bad, wait until you see how high Joe's opinion is of himself.


You obviously have not met Joe, Mike. He is a very sincere guy who has nothing but pure intentions for the party's future. I've had the pleasure of knowing Joe for some time and have never seen a hint of righteousness from him. He is a genuine person with the ideas and foresight to lead our party.


Old Dawg

Do your homework. Is nobody doing the math? Is nobody even checking up on the claims made by Gruters PR people?
Sarasota County was NOT the highest turnout in Florida, NOT first, NOT second or even third. In fact, turnout in Sarasota was the lowest since 1998.
Gruters did NOT raise millions in Sarasota County/ In fact, both previous REC chairs raised more in Sarasota than Gruters did.
Gruters could NOT have driven over 8,500 miles as claimed yet visited only 1/2 of the State REC members. He could have driven to LA and back, TWICE, in that amount of miles. Want to bet he claims 10,000 miles by the end of the week.

Old Dawg

This from the Nov 5th 2009 Sarasota Herald Tribune Jeremy wallace column.

"At the start of the year, Sarasota Democrats opened up a huge fundraising advantage on Republicans. While local Republicans saw their fundraising pick up since, they have yet to jump ahead of the Democrats as Sarasota Republican Party chairman Joe Gruters has promised would happen by the end of the year.

Sarasota Democrats have raised $58,876 and Republicans have raised $58,299, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections.

Gruters said this morning that he expects to finally jump ahead of Democrats at years end on the strength of having Gov. Charlie Crist at a fundraising dinner on Dec. 13."

Do your homework.

Brenna Hogan

Old Dawg -
Please show us what facts you have to base your claims. Joe Gruters has numbers. His absentee ballot returns were at 86%, whereas the state average was just at 72%. Sarasota County elected a Republican in every race, including beating sitting democrats. He has the phone logs showing an excess of 120,000 GOTV calls. Please show us your facts.

Joe Gruters set a budget based on what RPOS needed to become successful - he reached his goal and was victorious. Why take $$ from donors for something not needed when their money can instead go to RPOF, or federal races (RPOS cannot GOTV on federal races). He has been fundraising for over 10 years and yes, during that time, amounted to millions of dollars.

9000 miles is a lot of miles to drive. I'm sure Joe would have MUCH more preferred not to go back and forth across the state. However - I am sorry to say that not every person in each county is available on the days Joe was in town. I surmise this is because it was during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays. Joe has been meeting people at their availability. Additionally, one cannot expect an county REC meeting to change it's time based on when Joe Gruters can attend. He has been to several, and they were all across the state.

Finally, I will just go ahead and pre-empt your next strike. Joe is an accountant. In order to become a CPA, one must pass 4 different tests and be affiliated with an accounting firm for one year. Joe passed his final test just before Thanksgiving (hence his late entry into the race). He would have finished his one year apprenticeship this month, but has taken leave to run for RPOF Chair. Bravo to Joe for putting his career on hold.


Notice all the personal attacks on Joe Gruters?

Yes, he has already driven over 10,000 miles in Florida in the last 6 weeks to hear from the members of the RPOF Executive Committee.

Joe is an honest, fair & straight forward leader. This is the why so many folks believe in Joe.

Lets hear from folks that know Joe Gruters:

"I fully endorse Joe Gruters for Chairman of the RPOF. The reason I have been actively involved in politics is because of Joe Gruters' energy, drive and leadership. He has demonstrated his success at motivating Sarasota County and the voting public"
- Jacqueline Caouette, Hillsborough County

"Joe, is/will be a great leader and is a great asset to the Republican Party."
- Pam DeDea, Pinellas County

"Leadership, honesty, ethical and driven are only a few of Joe's traits. I have had the honor to work with Joe on a recent Governors campaign that was well executed and successful He is what the RPOF needs to bring the party forward."
- Craig Bachler, Manatee County

Joe Gruters is a honest, ethical and straightforward man. He does what he says he will with the utmost integrity and motivations. He understands Republican principles and conducts himself by those ideals everyday. I could not think of a better person to Chair our State's Republican Party.
- Dr. Peter Wish, Sarasota County

Joe's enthusiasm is so contagious, his vision is spot on and the events he orchestrated clearly illustrated his organizing and planning skills! There is no question that Joe should be the person to lead our great state's Republican Party!!
- Christine Voelker, Sarasota County

"As a former County Chairman (Howard County, Maryland), I couldn't be more impressed with Joe. He did a wonderful job uniting the party here after the primaries and set a good example for rank-and-file volunteers by walking the walk himself. "
- Carol Arscott, Sarasota County

"I have personally known Joe Gruters and his family for over 25 years. He is a man of high integrity, and I know that he will pour his heart and soul into the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Florida. Joe is exactly what our party needs right now.
- Keith Mercier, Sarasota County

"Joe did an excellent job as Chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota. He has a great talent for motivating, organizing and listening to the grassroots workers. "
- Alba Larranaga, Sarasota County


Joe Gruters was always a Crist supporter and even took a shot at Marco Rubio just weeks before his guy Crist became independent: “Marco Rubio has also supported positions that were not that conservative. That has yet to come out yet." -Gruters

We dont need no more Rinos.

More anti-Rubio stuff Gruters said here http://shark-tank.net/2010/12/29/joe-gruters/


I have known Joe Gruters for many years and can speak to his character as a proven leader and a team builder. Joe always stayed true to the Republican principles and was impartial when other republican leaders sided with Crist. I have high respect for his fair and trustworthy leadership.As REC Sarasota County Chairman, Joe successfully applied his leadership skills and political experience to every republican candidate’s victory – especially for Marco Rubio’s US Senate bid. Joe is an exceptionally capable team builder.
I support Joe Gruters for State Party Chairman

Harry Walia
Chairman, Sarasota County Marco Rubio for US Senate Campaign 2010


Julie Brady says:
January 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I have been a member of the Sarasota REC for 10 years. Joe Gruters has been one of our very best Chairman..

On November 2nd, in Sarasota County, Republicans won every elected office and even ousted the one Democrat representative in the State House…thanks to Joe’s leadership skills and his ability to bring UNITY to the RPOS.

Prior to the Primary, Joe stayed neurtral, unlike some former RPOS Chairman who openly supported and raised money for Charlie Crist…..even after he left the GOP when it became obvious that the grassroots was solidly behind Marco Rubio.

Joe is no RINO….He has been a Conservative Republican in speech and action.

This blogger’s attempt to smear Joe is a disgrace……What happened to following Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment?

Joe has my support because he is the best choice for RPOF Chaiman! We need him to bring UNITY to the FLORIDA GOP so we can achieve VICTORY in 2012!



Esther says:
January 4, 2011 at 1:04 am

I am a member of REC when Joe was first elected, and have known him longer than that. Joe is not a RINO and it is hard for anyone to come to that conclusion. He made it a point NOT to endorse anyone until they won the primary. He never supported Crist after he left the party. We had many fund raisers for Rubio and it is hard to believe people believe everything they read without knowing the facts. It is so sad to see our own GOP members eating their own.



GWL says:
January 3, 2011 at 5:49 am

All I can say is that Joe Gruters must have a pretty substantial lead in commitments judging from all the venom I’m reading lately. It appears he’s the only one taking some pretty nasty hits. I know Joe, I’ve worked with Joe and I support Joe. Perhaps those of you who don’t can come up with good reasons to support another candidate. That might give you a little credibility.


Paul A Cajka

Joe Gruters led us in doing the phone calling that helped get out absentee, early and election day voting. Our main phone bank was dedicated to the state phone calls and put out over 155,000 voter calls. Joe supported a phone bank for south Sarasota County which made 50,000 more calls to reach local voters. The various campaigns made more phone calls than I can count. In a state that tries to minimize the campaigning at the polling places, phone calls make the difference.

Joe knows what to do to win and throw back the Democrats. We need a mover and shaker in 2012 and Joe Gruters is the one.

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