(The Hill) — Don Gaetz, Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) father, announced Monday that he will be running again for the Florida Senate, where he served from 2006-16.
Don Gaetz, a Republican, said that he has no intentions of seeking higher office and that his goal is to make living in Florida affordable, The Associated Press reported.
“It’s apparent that while we are a low tax state, we are also a high electricity cost, high insurance if you can find it state and a high housing cost state,” Don Gaetz said. “High costs, these kitchen table issues, make it hard for people to live here. The state of Florida has to become an affordable state to live in.”
Don Gaetz previously served as president of the Florida Senate from 2012-14.
He said his decision to run has nothing to do with rumors of his son, Matt Gaetz, weighing a bid for Florida governor in 2026.
“Matt’s not pursuing any run for governor. He’s pushing forward tackling budget and spending problems in Washington and fighting for term limits,” Don Gaetz said, according to the AP.
Don Gaetz said he would be pre-filing the paperwork to formalize his bid Monday, the Pensacola News Journal reported. He is running to succeed outgoing state Sen. Doug Broxson (R) to represent District 1. Another Republican candidate, Frank White, said he would withdraw from the race if the elder Gaetz entered.
Don Gaetz said he had not considered running for office again until a few weeks ago, when, the News Journal reported, he was on a radio show and the host asked him about a possible run. Don Gaetz said the question surprised him.
“I told him, ‘I don’t have any plans to run for the Senate,’ but I told people I would listen. So I’m listening. That spread,” he said. “Then three or four days ago, Frank [White] said, ‘Don, if you run I will withdraw.’ That made the decision a lot easier.”
Both Broxson and White expressed their support for Don Gaetz.
“I think he is considered one of the best Senate presidents,” Broxson said in a statement, according to the News Journal. “His members thought he was so inclusive and willing to serve with them and work on projects they thought were important.”
“Don Gaetz is a living legend for good reason, and his record speaks for itself,” White told The Hill in a statement. “He has my full support.”