VENICE — State Sen. Joe Gruters, who is also the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, is reportedly under investigation for sexual harassment.

Citing five anonymous sources connected to the party, POLITICO reported Tuesday the complaint relates to Gruters allegedly sexually harassing a male aide who offered to drive him home from a bar during this year’s legislative session.

Other media outlets have published similar reports.

The voicemail at a phone number for Gruters was full Tuesday and he did not respond to requests for comment through other sources.

However, Eric Robinson, former county Republican Party chair and Gruter’s partner in a CPA firm, said the complaint had been closed.

He called the disclosure of it “political bull----.”

The party released a statement through Executive Director Helen Aguirre Ferre: “The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) has a zero tolerance policy toward harassment of any kind. Any complaint RPOF receives regarding harassment towards its employees or members is taken very seriously and thoroughly reviewed in accordance with RPOF internal HR policies and all applicable laws and regulations.”

State Party Vice Chair Christian Ziegler, who serves on the Sarasota County Commission, could not be reached for comment.

Gruters, 44, represents Senate District 23, which includes all of Sarasota County, of which he’s a fourth-generation resident, and western Charlotte County.

He was first elected to the Senate in 2018, then re-elected in 2020. He was a member of the Florida House from 2016 to 2018

In addition to chairing the state party, Gruters is the longtime chair of the party in Sarasota County and was a co-chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.


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