After presidential election, Florida Republicans have Georgia on their mind
David Perdue. Image via AP.

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Two Senate runoffs have Florida activists running for the border

With the presidential election in the rearview, the political world’s eyes have started turning toward two Senate races in Georgia. That includes the gaze of Florida Republicans, who enjoyed a better Tuesday than their Peach State compatriots and who feel anxious to lend a hand.

Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said he has had four conversations since Tuesday with Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer.

“I let him know we will do everything we can to assist them,” Gruters said. “We have a lot of volunteers and donors and will do whatever we can to hold on to those two Senate seats.”

Georgia ended up holding two Senate elections on Tuesday. Sen. David Perdue, the Republican incumbent, faced a reelection challenge from Democrat  Jon Ossoff and on Tuesday fell just shy of 50% and thus heads for a January runoff. Additionally, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, appointed to replace retired Sen. Johnny Isakson, also faced an election and came in second to Democrat Raphael Warnock, so those two will see a runoff as well.

Christian Ziegler, who grew up in Georgia, expects a huge fight and intends to lend his expertise.

“I want to make sure to get involved and save our country,” he said.

He’s not the only one. With the Florida election cycle effectively wrapped, conservative activists feel anxious about the pending Senate races that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. For many Republican activists in Jacksonville, North Florida and the Panhandle, it’s a short drive to knock on doors and provide other work in Georgia.

For the moment, Georgia Republicans signaled to Florida leaders they remain focused on the presidential election. While national networks called Pennsylvania and Nevada for Democrat Joe Biden, the Georgia vote in the battleground state remains within recount margins. As of 6 p.m. Saturday, Biden led President Donald Trump by 7,547, roughly a 10th of a percentage point.

“They are tied up and focused on that,” Ziegler said. “We have been told to stand by and let’s get the presidential out of the way real quick.”

It’s possible the resolution of that race at the national level for Biden will lower the temperature of any recount in Atlanta, considering the awarding of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes apparently won’t decide the presidency.

But denying Trump a second term, especially with so many battleground states coming down to close margins, has only fired up the Republican base.

Florida Republicans had a definitively better night than cohorts in Georgia. Trump won the Sunshine State by 3.37%, way outside any recount margin. The GOP here also flipped two congressional seats and five state House seats from blue to red, and hold an edge in a closely watched state Senate recount.

In short, there’s some expertise to offer.

But Gruters said whatever role the Florida party plays, it will be a subservient one. “Whatever role it is we play will be a supplemental role,” Gruters said. “But we are their neighbor. A lot of our people want to help.”

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].



    November 7, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    “the Georgia vote in the battleground state remains within recount margins”

    Yeah, keep focusing on the presidential race that you lost.

    We’ll see you in January to beat yours asses in the senate races.

  • Palmer Tom

    November 7, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    The Georgia Senate races have national importance. I expect there will be more outsiders than Florida Republicans involved.

  • Gail In Valdosta

    November 7, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Sorry, but Georgia’s voters have spoken-and will speak again in January. We rejected Trump and, unfortunately for you GOPers, unless you manage to find a way to change the voter registration deadline to January, then these Senate races will also be decided by Georgia voters who will defeat that horse looking woman Loeffler and Trump’s preferred ass kisser, Perdue.

    Get ready to say hello to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

  • Jeremiah House

    November 8, 2020 at 5:44 am

    Easy win for the Republicans. Toxic outsiders like Gail will assure that Republicans turn out and the Independents vote for a divided government rather than a one-party rule.

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    November 8, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    “Toxic outsiders” sounds like “Northern agitators.” Does anything ever change?

    Remember, Georgians, it was highly-educated Northerners like me who moved to Atlanta and helped Georgia to climb out of the Stone Age.

Comments are closed.


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