Republican Rep. Joe Gruters is kicking off his state Senate campaign with a May 31 fundraiser in Sarasota.
The reception will be held at the home of Alicia “AJ” Janson at Laurel Oak Country Club from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Those looking to attend can send in an RSVP for themselves and a guest online.
Gruters is running for the Senate District 23 seat currently held by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube. The seat is one of a handful impacted by U.S. Sen. Tom Rooney’s announcement that he would retire in 2018.
SD 23 and SD 25, currently held by exiting Senate President Joe Negron, weren’t originally slated for the 2018 ballot, but will be decided with a pair of special elections held concurrently with the regularly scheduled election. The winners of those seats will have to run for re-election in 2020.
Gruters is currently the only Republican running for SD 23. He faces Democrat Faith Olivia Babis.
Through April 30, Gruters had raised $151,500 for his campaign account and $55,000 for his affiliated political committee, Friends of Joe Gruters. He has $147,400 on hand between the two accounts. Babis, who filed in mid-April, has $7,150 in her campaign account.
SD 23 covers all of Sarasota County and a piece of western Charlotte County. It has a heavy Republican advantage – Steube won the 2016 race over Democrat Frank Alcock by 17 points.
Gruters’ invitation is below.