The potential candidacy of Representative Matt Gaetz for the position of Florida governor in the year 2026 has been a subject of considerable discourse among the political circles of Tallahassee. This topic has garnered attention and generated discussions, including those that took place during a recent reception held on Sunday evening to honor the new speaker of the Florida House.
Gaetz has been widely regarded as a prominent contender for the Republican nomination for governor, alongside several other potential candidates. The upcoming gubernatorial race is anticipated to be highly competitive due to the impending term restrictions that incumbent Ron DeSantis will face. DeSantis is presently engaged in a presidential campaign; but, in the event of an unsuccessful bid, he would still have two years remaining in his tenure as the governor.
Gaetz, similar to the majority of Republican lawmakers from Florida, was present in Tallahassee to attend the official ceremony when Miami Republican state Representative Danny Perez was designated as the future speaker of the Florida House, commencing his term next year.
As a component of the aforementioned celebrations, Perez hosted a reception on Sunday evening at an AC Hotel by Marriott located in close proximity to the urban center of the city. According to four individuals present at the event, Gaetz was observed “kind of holding court,” and made repeated suggestions on his potential candidacy for the position of governor. This information was reported by NBC News.
One seasoned Florida Republican lobbyist reported “There was a lot of talk about it at the reception last night, and Gaetz was telling people to basically expect him to be in.”
Gaetz has not overtly diminished the notion of his potential gubernatorial candidacy in public. However, during an interview with NBC News on Monday, he emphasized that his current political priority lies in supporting the electoral campaign of Donald Trump for the presidential election in 2024.
During the Sunday evening event, Gaetz stated “Many did encourage me to consider running for governor one day. But we have an outstanding governor who will be in that position through 2026.”
He further expressed “My only political focus right now is Trump 2024.”
Gaetz served as a prominent advisor during DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign in 2018; however, their relationship has subsequently deteriorated. Representative Gaetz has emerged as one of the most prominent advocates for President Trump, whose presidential campaign now enjoys a substantial lead in primary polling compared to other candidates.
John Morgan, a well-known Florida trial attorney and Democratic political supporter, expressed his belief in Gaetz’s potential candidacy for the position of governor, stating, “I think he will.”
On Monday, Morgan engaged in a brief conversation with Gaetz in close proximity to the Florida House chamber. The individuals in question have maintained a longstanding acquaintance and collaborated during the initial stages of DeSantis’ tenure to address matters pertaining to medical cannabis.
According to Morgan “He will be running in a large field. He could win with 30 percent. Trump’s endorsement alone gets him that.”
According to a Florida GOP operative, it has been observed that former President Trump, despite not making any public statements regarding future elections, would offer support to his longstanding supporter.
According to a Florida Republican operative, “He’s 100 percent in. I think Gaetz is an instant front-runner and from what I hear he’s already won the Trump primary.”
President Trump has refrained from explicitly discussing the issue of race, and his campaign has chosen not to provide any comments on the matter. However, it is worth noting that his backing significantly contributed to Ron DeSantis’ victory in the 2018 Republican primary. In addition to Gaetz, a number of political allies of the former president are contemplating a candidacy.
Currently, Gaetz holds a prominent role in the ongoing political discourse in Washington on the possibility of a government shutdown.
There has been a growing conflict between him and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as he endeavors to engage in negotiations aimed at averting a government shutdown. Representative Gaetz has expressed criticism towards McCarthy, who has not shown willingness to advocate for the expenditure cutbacks desired by Gaetz and fellow congressional conservatives as a component of the agreement.
The matter also briefly created a public disagreement between him and U.S. Representative Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida who is aligned with former President Trump and is considering a future gubernatorial campaign in 2026. Representative Gaetz expressed his strong determination by tweeting “I will NOT surrender” on Sunday evening, in reaction to reports indicating that Representative Donalds had discussed a suggested 30-day continuing resolution on a House GOP conference call, with the aim of preventing a government shutdown.
Several other Republicans who are considering running for office include Wilton Simpson, the state Agriculture Commissioner; Jimmy Patronis, the state Chief Financial Officer; Mike Waltz, a U.S. Representative; and Ashley Moody, the state Attorney General.
May the best Republican win.
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