Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Joe Gruters has been hanging on to his job by a thread since taking office in January 2019, and now it appears as if the Sarasota state Senator has soiled his political bed by endorsing a Republican state House candidate over another.
Bay County Chairwoman Debbie Woods has filed an official grievance against Chairman Gruters alledging that he gave an “unabashed” endorsement of Griff Griffiitts over Trump activist Brian Clowdus in the Republican primary race for State House District 6.
“Chairman Gruters’ actions clearly violate Rule 9 of the RPOF Rules… one of the key foundations of the RPOF,” said Chairwoman Woods in a press release.
Woods went on to make her case that Chairman Gruters will argue that he did not use his formal title as GOP party boss when he endorsed Griffitts over Clowdus, a move that brings back memories of former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer and his iron fist approach of influencing races during his tenure as chairman of the Florida GOP.
“I was not privy to Chairman Gruters’ endorsement interview, nor have I seen a copy of the press release. I am sure it will be argued that Chairman Gruters never used his title as Chairman in the endorsement,” stated Woods before adding that she found it “alarming to now hear that Chairman Gruters is serving as Treasurer for Griff’s campaign.”
“The damage caused by Chairman Gruters’ endorsement has just begun. This is so unfortunate and untimely during the beginning of such a critical election year when the Bay County REC should be able to focus all its efforts re-electing Governor DeSantis, Senator Rubio and the rest of the GOP ticket,” added Woods.
Gruters' endorsement of Griffitts circulates the dark cloud cover that his administration has brought upon itself over the past several years.
Woods’s grievance is valid, but will it be heard considering Gruters’s record of sweeping grievances against his allies under the doormat at the state party?
The chairman of the Grievance Committee is actually one of Gruters's closest friends, and should probably recuse himself.from the case.
According to a source very close to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Gov. DeSantis has been at his wits end with not just Gruters, but with all of his allies within the state party.
The source said DeSantis could possibly be looking for a reason to show Gruters the door.
Considering that DeSantis is enjoying unprecedented statewide approval from Republican, Independent, and some Democratic voters, a scandal like this could serve to be a counterproductive distraction to his bid for re-election.
Couple his endorsement of Griffitts and the recent sexual harassment allegation made against him, not to mention being on DeSantis’s “naughty list,” Gruters’s days as chairman could be numbered.
Neither Gruters nor Woods could be reached for comment.