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SW Florida

Jack Brill named Acting Chair for Sarasota GOP

Joe Gruters will be busy running Florida’s GOP.

With Joe Gruters splitting time between the Florida Senate and Republican Party of Florida, the Sarasota Republican announced Jack Brill will serve as acting chairman for the Republican Party of Sarasota.

“Jack has been integral to running the Republican Party of Sarasota for the past few years and his role as Acting Chairman will make Party leadership seamless,” Gruters said.

Since Gruters’ election to state House in 2016, Brill has played a larger role in organizing party events.

Gruters must hold a state executive committee position such as county chairman in order to serve as state chair for the Florida GOP.

He initially planned not to seek election to another term as county chairman after his election to the Florida Senate, but he surfaced as Gov. Ron DeSantispick to lead the state party.

Brill appeared to be the front-runner to take over as Sarasota county chair, but when Gruters ran for another term instead, Brill ran for vice chair.

But immediately, both men made clear Gruters’ focus would be on statewide politics while Brill would keep tabs on Sarasota County operations. Now Gruters has all but bestowed the chair title upon Brill.

“It’s pretty special in that respect,” Brill said.

The acting Sarasota GOP leader said the focus of the party won’t change. First and foremost, the county operation wants to deliver votes to re-elect President Donald Trump in 2020. Beyond that, the party wants badly to take a state House seat back from Democrat Margaret Good, who won re-election by a smaller margin than expected in November.

“Since she [Good] only won by 1,100 votes, I expect to take that seat back,” Brill said.

Beyond that, the party mostly will play defense. The county holds all but one county constitutional office, and will defend a county commission seat in 2020. That defense was made a little more challenging by a recent switch to single-member district elections.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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