Why doesn’t Matt Gaetz run for Attorney General in 2018?
Increasingly, this is a question buzzing from the Panhandle to the Potomac.
The din about Gaetz entering the 2018 AG field is only getting louder now that it appears that Ron DeSantis will run for Governor and not the top law enforcement post.
So far only former circuit court judge Ashley Moody (definitely a comer) and state Rep. Jay Fant (not exactly a household name) are in the race. This leaves a lot of room for another candidate from the conservative wing of the Republican party to join the fray.
For much of his career, the first-term Republican congressman has proved adept at getting traction for significant issues and his pet projects. In Florida politics, Gaetz earned his reputation for oratory skills, pointed humor and blunt talk, as well as mastering social media and the internet to get things done.
As we noted in 2015: “Even those who disagree … concede that the only place Gaetz is more brilliant than he is when delivering a speech on the floor of the Florida House is when he is at a keyboard or on his smartphone and broadcasting to his friends and followers.”
Having the last name Gaetz doesn’t hurt either, being the son of North Florida political scion Don Gaetz. Name ID is definitely a commodity that could serve him well, particularly compared to those now in the AG race.
And he certainly isn’t afraid to make waves, especially when he proposed a bill February to “completely abolish” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans,” he wrote. “It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”
While the proposal didn’t play well in some circles, it certainly solidified his base in the Panhandle. That, and the fact that he didn’t shy away from holding (occasionally contentious) town halls with constituents in several not-at-all-ironic “Open Gaetz Days.” He certainly isn’t afraid to play a possibly unfriendly room, unlike some of his congressional colleagues.
No doubt, moves like that take a courage of conviction, as well as more than a little chutzpah – another plus for a statewide run.
So tell us again why shouldn’t Gaetz throw his hat into the ring?