It feels like no coincidence.
Months after Donald Trump weighed in on a national committeeman race, Joe Gruters’ name is being bandied about for the Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair position.
News broke this week that sitting RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel may step aside so that Trump, the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, can pick a party leader.
Shortly afterward, The Washington Post reported Gruters and North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley as potential successors. A day later, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Gruters was “in the mix,” and the article was picked up in papers throughout the USA Today network.
Gruters appreciated the mention but clarified that it’s ultimately up to Trump to pick his favorite.
“Whenever you’re even mentioned for something like that, it’s pretty spectacular,” Gruters said, “but at the end of the day, the President’s continuing to build his team so we can win in November, and I support wherever he goes.”
Gruters serves as a state Senator in Senate District 22, but last year wrapped a four-year stint as state Chair of the Republican Party of Florida. He recently stepped down from that role, but only after making an ultimately unsuccessful run for RNC Treasurer.
After the term as Chair ended, it marked the first time in decades that Gruters didn’t hold a role within the party. He served for years as the Republican Party of Sarasota County Chair and served as state Vice Chair before taking the top job in 2019.
A power shake-up at the party earlier this year led Evan Power to abandon a run for national committeeman after being elected the new state Chair. Gruters quickly announced a run and, after securing Trump’s endorsement, appears a heavy favorite for the job when the state committee holds its quarterly meeting in Wesley Chapel on Saturday.
From there, McDaniel’s move will clarify what happens next. Outlets including The Associated Press report she has offered to Trump to step down, but likely won’t take such a step until after the South Carolina Presidential Primary on Feb. 24 at the earliest.