U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller set of a chain reaction in Northwest Florida when he decided to retire from Congress last week, sending statehouse and local pols scrambling to advance in his wake. On Wednesday he made more waves, endorsing Neal Dunn in a three-way primary in the 2nd Congressional District.
Miller lauded Dunn, a urological surgeon from Panama City in the district’s west, with the highest praise possible in the newly-redrawn seat that now favors Republicans roughly 2-to-1: that of a staunch conservative.
“North Florida needs a conservative who is committed to serving our veterans, shrinking the size and scope of the federal government and safeguarding our Second Amendment rights,” said Miller in a statement. “Neal Dunn shares the same conservative values as many of us in our community, and he has demonstrated a commitment to the ideals and principles of the Founding Fathers.
“I believe his background as a veteran and surgeon makes him uniquely qualified to represent the Second District of Florida in Congress,” added Miller, who is stepping down after 15 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He took over for MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough, who held the seat from 1995-2001.
Dunn is running against Gov. Rick Scott administration attorney Mary Thomas and former U.S. Attorney Ken Sukhia in a primary battle to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who may not seek re-election in CD-2 after a 2015 redistricting decision radically altered the seat.
In accepting Miller’s endorsement, Dunn repaid the favor to his fellow GOP-er.
“Congressman Miller is a staunch advocate for veterans issues; and, as a veteran, I applaud his dedication, as well as his accomplishments,” said Dunn. “Congressman Miller and I also agree that our current tax system impedes economic growth, and we must do all that we can to encourage small business growth, and reduce and remove excessive and burdensome government regulations. With Congressman Miller’s support, I look forward to continuing to spread our conservative message in Congressional District 2 and fighting for a better North Florida.