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Matt Gaetz reportedly considering running for Florida governor

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz reportedly has his sights set on the state’s governor’s office when outgoing President Ron DeSantis’ term ends in 2026, several people close to Mr. Gaetz said.

For the past six years, Mr. Gaetz represented Florida’s 1st District as a hard-line Republican aligned with former President Donald Trump.

But some believe Mr. Gaetz could seek to continue his political career by running for governor of Florida after Mr. DeSantis leaves office, either in 2026, when his term is up, or in 2024 if he is elected to the House White.

Several people who attended an event in Tallahassee this weekend told NBC News that Mr. Gaetz had hinted he would run for governor and was apparently commanding the room.

However, in a statement provided to The independent, Mr. Gaetz said “the NBC story is an exaggerated clickbait” and that running for governor of Florida is not a priority at the moment.

“I met dozens of former colleagues from my time in the State Legislature. They continually encouraged me to consider returning to Florida. However, I was not focused on any of those speeches,” Mr. Gaetz said.

“My only mission right now is to kill Donald’s Ukraine-funding CR, Jack Smith and an armed Biden government,” he added.

The event Mr. Gaetz and others attended this week was a nomination ceremony and reception for State Rep. Danny Perez, who will be speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

A Republican lobbyist told NBC News there was “a lot of discussion” at the reception about Mr. Gaetz’s potential run for governor.

Mr. Gaetz has not indicated whether he would consider running for governor, although some close to him told NBC News they would not be surprised.

A Republican member from Florida said Mr. Gaetz “is an immediate front-runner” for the job, given that he is a close ally of Mr. Trump who could provide him with positive support.

Moreover, Mr. Gaetz has made a name for himself in Congress for being a contrarian — just like his fellow members of the Freedom Caucus. Most recently, Mr. Gaetz opposed the election of Kevin McCarthy to the presidency and threatened to hold a vote to oust him.

Mr. Gaetz’s outspokenness as a far-right Republican is notably similar to positions taken by Mr. DeSantis, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For now, Mr. Gaetz will continue to fight Mr. McCarthy as he tries to avoid a government shutdown.


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