Could Florida GOP move its headquarters out of Tallahassee?
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 10/15/19-Traffic flows by the reconstruction of the House of Representatives parking garage and outlying parcels of the Capitol complex, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Party leadership says it's a possibility.

Could the Republican Party of Florida exit the Capital City?

It’s an idea that was floated at the most recent quarterly meeting for the party, though Chairman Joe Gruters said nothing is set in stone. A move wouldn’t occur before the 2020 election wraps, if it happens at all. But he does want a Headquarters Committee exploring if “we have the right infrastructure in place for future campaigns.”

It’s a familiar argument about the geography of Tallahassee. Just as lawmakers frequently raise the issue of moving the Florida Capitol out of the Panhandle, some question why political decisions get made so far from state battlegrounds. While it’s the center of state government, the most important political activity in Florida simply happens elsewhere.

Would it make more sense for the party’s headquarters to be on the I-4 corridor, that legendary swingy region where state races are won or lost?

“Why not be where the action is?” asks Gruters. “Let’s open it up.”

This could result in the main operations for the party moving to Brandon, Orlando, Daytona or somewhere else. The party will always have a satellite office in Tallahassee, Gruters said, and likely one in Southwest Florida, a prime source of GOP votes. As for the existing headquarters on Jefferson Street, Gruters said there’s potential that property will be leased or sold.

But in the end, does it all matter in an age of internet connectivity and social media campaigns?

Gruters acknowledges the communications logistics of political campaigns won’t be dramatically impacted by the location of headquarters. But a move means state level party staff could work hands-on with volunteers and campaigns in the most densely populated and politically important areas of the state.

Plus, it could make head-hunting easier.

“Not that Tallahassee is bad by any means,” he said, “but it’s easier to recruit top tier talent if you are in a location that is more desirable.”

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn