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2020

Joe Gruters says, yes, Donald Trump can play in Broward County

Slight gains in the dense county can deliver victory statewide.

Republican Party of Florida chairman Joe Gruters says his party will definitely fight for votes in Broward County.

President Donald Trump surprised many by holding a “Homecoming” rally in Broward County, a county Democrat Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 with 66 percent of the vote.

But in an appearance on Fox News, Gruters stressed there’s still a huge pot of GOP votes in the deep blue region.

“A 10-percent swing for us is 25,000 votes,” he said. “The reason that is so important for Florida, if you look at the last couple of cycles we are the ultimate prize.”

Indeed, Trump picked up 260,951 votes in Broward in 2016 on his way to winning Florida by 112,911 votes.

Furthermore, that 1.2-percent victory constituted a Florida landslide. Gruters noted the 2018 cycle only brought closer contests, most of which were won by the GOP.

“In 2018, we had an 11,000-vote margin of victory for U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and a 33,000-vote margin of victory for Gov. Ron DeSantis,” Gruters said.

He feels good now that with DeSantis’ post-popularity high, the GOP will perform well statewide in 2020.

“Having America’s No. 1 Governor, Ron DeSantis, on stage with the president, he has been on fire here in Florida since he’s been elected,” Gruters said.

So Republicans will be scrapping for voters in all parts of Florida. Gruters said the focus of the party at the Tuesday night rally was voter registration. The more Republican voters get signed up before 2020, the more impact Broward Republicans can have in statewide races.

“We may never win Broward County, but in presidential election cycles, we’ve hit, like, 70 percent voter turnout,” he said. “With 250,000 registered voters in Broward, and 330,000 NPAs (no party affiliation voters), it’s our opportunity to go out there.”

Gruters expects that, as has occurred in every election cycle of the past three decades, Florida’s votes will be critical. In fact, the last time, the winner for Florida failed to win the presidency was in 1992.

The Sarasota Republican also predicted Trump will again perform well in areas believed Democratic strongholds.

“We shocked the world (in 2016) winning places we never should have won like Pinellas County,” Gruters said.

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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