Email insights: Joe Gruters seeks RPOF Vice Chair

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A GOP candidate will never win the White House without carrying Florida, says Sarasota County Republican Chair Joe Gruters in proclaiming his bid for Republican Party of Florida vice chair.

That is why with “only” two years to prepare for 2016, Gruters says RPOF leaders need strong insight for the future.

“We have a huge election ahead in 2016,” Gruters writes in a lengthy email to state committee members, “and we have shown in Sarasota what it takes to win in competitive races.”

GOP success this November came from pulling together diverse elements, “essential grassroots” efforts – there is that word again – expanded minority outreach programs and raising record amounts of money for Republican candidates. Gruters served as chair of the RPOF Technology Committee

This culminated in a clean sweep of Republicans in the November elections, he added.

Promising to take his “skills and knowledge to the state level,” Gruters vows to ensure “Florida is a red state in the 2016 presidential elections.”  His strategy is in four issues: supporting the chair, winning elections, protect & promote party’s principles and empowering local leaders.

Sounds like a plan, indeed.

Although Gruters was a frontrunner to replace Lenny Curry – who stepped down in May to run for Jacksonville mayor – Clay County’s Leslie Dougher eventually took the helm. She would then go on to lead the party to a sweep in November, and getting the blessing of a grateful Gov. Rick Scott in her re-election bid.

There is no substitute for success, as the saying goes.

 “I intend to run for a full-term as RPOF chairman in January of 2015,” Gruters said back in May, but now he seems content with a role as vice chair.

Ultimately, it might prove a smart move.  Gruters could then team up with Dougher, who will likely win re-election. After all, she is currently riding high on the most recent (and very successful) GOP election cycle; Gruters may prove to be the most effective – and have a better chance of winning – as Party vice chair.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.