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Jennifer Locetta

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Jennifer Locetta tapped as new executive director of Florida GOP

Her connections to the Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis campaigns helped land the job.

The Republican Party of Florida will name Jennifer Locetta as its new executive director today.

She most recently worked at the White House and now leads the Florida GOP during the buildup to another big presidential election year.

“She’s a longtime friend and trusted adviser,“ said Joe Gruters, newly elected state chair for the party.

Like Gruters, Locetta boasts roots in the Sarasota area, where she previously served as executive director of Republican Party of Sarasota while Gruters was county chair.

But beyond the personal connection, Gruters said Locetta’s connections to both President Donald Trump’s political team and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign made her a natural choice.

“She’s the perfect person to take over at this time,” he said.

In 2012, Locetta worked on presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s ultimately unsuccessful Florida campaign.

But four years later, she also worked hand-in-hand with Gruters and Susie Wiles, co-chairs for the Florida arm of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, in winning the Sunshine State’s electoral votes for the now-president.

After Wiles was tapped to run to now-Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign last year, she hired Locetta to oversee operations for the Republican leader’s gubernatorial race in 2018.

Locetta was hired early after Trump won the Republican Party nomination to the role of deputy state director. She quickly moved into the role of state director for Florida for Trump.

“I can’t imagine undertaking a significant political project without Jennifer by my side,” Wiles said.

“Her dedication, smarts and work ethic are second to none and any organization she touches is better for it.”

Over the course of those campaigns, Locetta built up a background with digital data, campaign operations and budgeting.

After Trump won the presidency, Locetta worked on the president’s inaugural committee and immediately took a job at the White House as a special assistant to the president following his inauguration. She later took a post as associate director of presidential personnel, where she was responsible for recruiting candidates to serve in various executive branch agencies.

Locetta, who grew up in Central Florida, has worked for RPOF before as statewide data director. She’s also worked for the Republican Party of Kentucky and helped organize various national and state political conventions.

And she’s got a history of winning against oddsmakers’ predictions. That could be important considering Trump’s approval ratings in Florida just slid underwater amid a prolonged federal government shutdown.

“Jennifer has an extensive background in Florida politics and knows the political environment at all levels in Florida very well,” Gruters said. “Her love for country; passion for politics; and experience in the White House, on the campaign trail and in previous party roles will be an unparalleled asset to our Party.”

Update 1:00 p.m. — Now that the release about Loretta’s hiring has been sent to the press, it’s interesting to note that the release came from Bascom Communications and Consulting. This pretty much confirms that Sarah Bascom and her team are once again assisting the RPOF on communications strategy and the search for a full-time communications director.

Former chairs John Thrasher and Blaise Ingoglia also turned to Bascom for advice after they secured their leadership posts and it’s been widely published how Bascom team’s played a leading role in the communications efforts of Ron DeSantis general election campaign. Bascom also advises Bill Galvano and Chris Sprowls.

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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