The Republican Party of Florida has elected a new leader.
State Sen. Joe Gruters of Sarasota was chosen to lead the state GOP at the party's annual meeting in Orlando Saturday.
Gruters, a certified public accountant, was elected to the Florida Senate in November. He previously served in the state House of Representatives representing the eastern parts of Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
Gruters headed up the Republican Party of Sarasota County for 10 years before resigning the post last year. He won the state's top GOP job with the backing of new Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Gruters, who defeated Charlotte County State Committeeman Bob Starr in a 192-25 vote, will replace Rep. Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill , who has served as chairman of the state Republican party since 2015.
In a statement released after the vote, Gruters pledged to secure another term for President Donald Trump in 2020, when Florida will again likely play a pivotal role as the country's largest swing state.
“Our party is in a battle for the soul of America, and Florida will be critical heading into the next election cycle," Gruters said. "I anticipate working with Governor DeSantis to push his bold agenda forward for our great state, securing another term for our President Donald J. Trump and making Florida RED again.”