Ronna McDaniel critics fail to attract quorum for no-confidence vote at Florida GOP meeting
Photo courtesy Joe Gruters

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Barely a quarter of the voting members of the state Republican Executive Committee showed up.

Anthony Sabatini can force the Florida GOP to schedule a meeting, but he can’t make anyone show up.

The Republican Party of Florida held a special meeting in Sarasota on Friday morning. That took place after Sabatini, Lake County Republican Party Chair, led a petition demanding a special meeting to decry Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Because the petition had 30 signatures from members of the state Republican Executive Committee, state Chair Joe Gruters called the meeting. But out of 256 REC members, only 71 showed up for the event.

The meeting lasted only long enough to conduct a roll call and determine no quorum was present. It would have taken 129 members attending in order to take any action.

“It was an epic failure,” Gruters said.

Sabatini wanted a meeting to take place ahead of Jan. 27 elections next week on who leads the RNC. McDaniel is seeking re-election as RNC Chair, and faces a serious challenge from California lawyer Harmeet Dhillon. MyPillow founder Mike Lindell is also running.

Of course, any resolution against McDaniel would be nonbinding. Only three members of the Florida GOP have a vote in the RNC elections. Those include Gruters as state Chair, and he supports McDaniel’s re-election.

“Party politics is a team sport,” Gruters said. “Every time I asked Ronna for anything at the RNC, she always delivered, and she will continue to do well when she wins the race next week.”

Florida National Committeeman Peter Feaman supports Dhillon, and Florida National Committeewoman Kathleen King backs McDaniel.

But all three voting members are autonomous to vote their own way in the RNC election, and any resolution passed by the state party would have no binding effect.

Gruters notably is running for RNC Treasurer.

The Hollow 2A, a Venice-based group affiliated with former Gen. Michael Flynn and members of the Proud Boys, held a rally opposing McDaniel’s candidacy outside the meeting space.

Sabatini spoke at the event, as did Collier County State Committeeman Alfie Oakes.

Bay County Republican Party Chair Tho Bishop shared images on Twitter from the rally and quotes from the speakers.

“We’re tired of the Romneys,” Oakes said, referencing that McDaniel is niece to Utah Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “We’re tired of the (Senate Minority Leader Mitch) McConnells. We’re tired of a weak Republican Party.”

Sabatini suggested state party leaders have their loyalty in the wrong place.

“Like Gov. (Ron) DeSantis, like President (Donald) Trump, it’s time to go on offense,” he said.

The event had greater attendance than the meeting itself, but many attendees were not voting members of the state REC. Sally Nista, a local Republican activist affiliated with the Proud Boys, could be seen waving a poster supporting Gruters’ opponent for RNC Treasurer, K.C. Crosbie. Another person raised a placard calling for Gruters specifically to rescind his endorsement of McDaniel.

Sabatini in advance pressured state REC members to attend, but to no avail. 

“71 members of the Republican Party of Florida met today to vote NO-CONFIDENCE on Ronna McDaniel,” he tweeted. “Although some in party leadership worked hard to suppress turnout and avoid a quorum, the group still met to vote. Vote Result: a supermajority of the 71 voted to fire Ronna!”

Gruters said he feels sorry for those who did show. While he’s been accused of scheduling the meeting on Friday at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, he said previous quarterly meetings for the party were held in Sarasota at the same time of week and had strong attendance.

But he said members should reflect on what warrants a meeting with such a narrow call.

“I never fought it, I never questioned the validity of the special meeting,” he said. “But we haven’t had a special meeting in a long time. I think this will have people do some self-reflection prior to doing another special meeting.”

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]


9 comments

  • gloriajame

    January 20, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Hello

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  • Kimberly

    January 20, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    this is a really sad sad day. We the people do not like Ronna Romney. She is a RINO who has essentially lost two elections. Instead of investigating election fraud she decided to spend money on spa days and flower arrangements to the tune of $300k+ worth of donations. She has shown no real skills and is completely detached from the people as is Gruter who didn’t give wait to his peers concerns and required attendance so we could have a quorum. Gruter…Your job is to do the will of the people not kiss butt to get a Treasury position in the RNC.

    • Kimberly

      January 20, 2023 at 4:06 pm

      Correction….Gruters

  • Tara Jenner

    January 20, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    There needs to be a state level rules change that would allow vice chair, Secretary, or treasurer, to represent the county if the chairman is unwilling or unable to attend. This pecking order is approved for county level activities and should be reflected at the state level as well. Had that been in place I’m pretty sure that there would have been representation enough to meet the quorum. Picking a Friday morning, and early at that, made it extremely challenging for a number of people to attend who may have wanted to be there and gave an excuse to those who didn’t want to be present.

    The fact that so many people did show up outnumbered those that were in the room says more about availability and interest of people wanting a vote of no confidence in Ronna than support of her. It also says an awful lot about those state committee people and chairpersons who did not show up. How seriously do they take their position if they feel they can just blow off a special meeting. It goes directly to their intent and interest in properly fulfilling the duties of their offices. Attendance is a key component of their duties. If they didn’t have a legitimate reason for not being there, the REC members in those districts that were not represented should be seriously considering why they have those individuals in office. Non-participation to prevent the establishment of a quorum is the cowards way out.

  • Kimberly

    January 20, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    So true, a list of those that didn’t show up should be made available to the constituents.

  • Martin Arauxo

    January 22, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    Jim Gruter’s needs to be FIRED. He Ronna, and the rest of the weak RINO’s need to be sent on a long vacation.

  • Tired of Sabatini

    January 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    While I agree Ronna should go. But, Once again Anthony Sabatini goes off half cocked outside his lane and thinks he has more influence than he actually has. He is still an obstructionist, still a failure. Seems everything the guy touches fails one way or another. He needs to shut his mouth on occasion and stay in his lane.

  • Luana Layton

    January 26, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    A change of leadership is needed. We cannot afford to lose any more elections, the country is at stake. Where is our money going, to comp a bunch of the executives of the of the RNC, a very, very expensive resort. Tell my representatives from Florida To please, please not vote for the incumbent. We need a whole new change and how this party is run. Hamett and Mike have great ideas we need to implement now!

Comments are closed.


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