Given that Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is term-limited from reseeking that office in 2026 — a date by which everyone would know his extremist agenda anyway — gubernatorial talk has started to swirl around Florida’s most extreme congressman.
Yes, the Venmo-Man himself, Matt Gaetz, is considered a guaranteed candidate.
Folks around Tallahassee promise a long list of candidates in the primary precisely because DeSantis is stepping down, and so — even though Gaetz may be a guaranteed candidate — he is not in any way guaranteed to get through the GOP primary.
Remember that it was not that long ago that Florida had a Democratic governor and was 500 votes short of giving us Al Gore — as opposed to George W. Bush — as president. I expect Florida to swing back – somewhat, especially after the abortion debate and DeSantis’s extremist ideology.
As NBC News reports on Gaetz’s activities at a Tallahassee political event:
“As part of those festivities, Perez held a reception Sunday night at an AC Hotel by Marriott near the city’s downtown. At the event Gaetz was seen “kind of holding court,” and he strongly implied several times he would be running for governor, four people at the event told NBC News.”
Holding court, huh?
Well, the Gaetz family is powerful in Northern Florida, but he would sure be a test as to how extreme Florida really wants to be. DeSantis didn’t start getting “out there” until after he won a second term and started looking at the White House.
Maybe Florida will want some moderation? Maybe Alyssa Milano will get a divorce and marry me.
But people agreed that Gaetz was the center of attention.
One longtime Florida Republican lobbyist told NBC News in its report:
“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.”
Report continues below tweet:
Matt Gaetz is expected to run for Florida governor.
NBC News reports that the far-right MAGA Congressman told friends and allies he'll run for FL governor in 2026.
“He’s 100 percent in,” said a Florida Republican operative on Gaetz running for governor. “I think Gaetz is an… pic.twitter.com/CPHxyBSndc
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) September 18, 2023
Shouldn’t we wait and see if we even have elections after 2024? There’s a chance that we enter the “Post-Democracy America 2.0 Stupid, Dangerous, Unfair.” And DeSantis will just stay in the governor’s office “Because I lost the primary, I’m due a third term.”
Gaetz addressed the question head-on, per the report:
“Many did encourage me to consider running for governor one day. We have an outstanding governor who will be in that position through 2026.”
“My only political focus right now is Trump 2024.”
People who aren’t running or truly aren’t considering it say, “I just don’t know. That’s a long time away. I’d have to talk to my family, right now I don’t see it happening… ”
Oh, and they also say, “No.”
But Gaetz running for governor is more believable.
It absolutely boggles my mind that Gaetz’s “troubles” didn’t bother more people.
If we give him every favorable detail, at best – at BEST — he paid 18-year-olds to rent hotel rooms, have sex, take pictures of said sex, and then show them to his buddies on the floor of the House of Representatives.
I still can’t believe it’s not a crime to share naked photos without mutual consent…We are way off track. One thing we seem to have learned is that the further right one is, the more they can get away with.
Well, if the United States is still a democracy, if DeSantis does honor the law, if Gaetz wins the primary, and if Florida holds to form and elects a Republican, we do know one thing.
Gaetz is going to have to get really creative in taking the state further to the right.
But he seems up to the task. He gets away with a lot.
This column is based on reporting by Matt Dixon of NBC News.
I can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @JasonMiciak
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here: