Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube announced Monday that he will run for Florida’s 17th Congressional District.
“I’m running because Washington is broken; it needs to serve the people it was intended to serve, Floridians; rather than special interests in DC,” Steube said in an email.
“My entire adult life has been about service, I enlisted in the Infantry after September 11 because I wanted to serve my country in the war on terror, after service in the military I served the state of Florida in the Florida House for 6 years, and the Florida Senate for the last 2 years.
“As a pro-life, pro 2nd Amendment, anti-illegal immigration fighter for our constitutional rights I will proudly support [President Donald] Trump and his agenda in Washington and I’m proud to have the backing of Florida’s law enforcement because they know they’ll have my support.”
Steube’s announcement also broached veterans’ issues and the national policy discussion following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 dead.
“We need to make a change and it needs to happen today to protect our children. For years I have advocated for providing extensive training for those willing to protect our children in our schools and I’m very happy that President Trump supports a program that I have advocated for years,” he said.
“Securing our schools, taking threats seriously, and further funding our mental health programs are absolutely necessary.”
Along with the announcement, Steube included a long list of endorsements.
Early backers include Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President Designate Bill Galvano, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel as well as the sheriffs of Charlotte, Highlands, Hardee, Okeechobee and Glades counties.
CD 17 is currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, who announced last week that he would not run for re-election in the fall. The district covers parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee.
The seat is a Republican stronghold that voted plus-27 for Trump in 2017.
Steube is the first of many interested Republican state lawmakers to file for the seat.
Other possible entrants include Fort Myers Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Port Charlotte Rep. Michael Grant, Wauchula Rep. Ben Albritton, and Sarasota Reps. Joe Gruters and Julio Gonzalez, though Gruters could be just as interested in taking over Steube’s Senate seat.
Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight has said he will not run for the seat, as have the three Republicans running for Agriculture Commissioner – Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman.
Steube’s full endorsement list is below.