State Rep. Julio Gonzalez, a Venice Republican, qualified Tuesday to run for an open congressional seat, setting up a Republican primary battle with state Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican.
Steube qualified Monday in Congressional District 17, which became open when Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney announced he would not seek re-election.
The sprawling district includes Okeechobee, Highlands, Glades, Hardee, DeSoto, Charlotte and parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties.
Qualifying for the race began Monday and will continue until noon Friday.
As of mid-day Tuesday, Avon Park Democrat Bill Pollard also had qualified for the race.
Gonzalez could have sought re-election to the state House this year, and Steube could have run again for his Senate seat in 2020, but both decided to jump into the congressional race.
The News Service will have a story about the second day of qualifying later Tuesday.