Florida Right to Life, a conservative group that advocates for state and federal legislation to end abortion, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’ re-election bid in Florida’s 1st Congressional District.
“The endorsement indicates that you are the best pro-life candidate in the race and is a recommendation that our members and supporters vote for you,” Florida Right to Life said in a statement. The group opposes all abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
Gaetz’ campaign heralded the group as “a leading voice in the fight to limit abortion on demand in Florida” and highlighted a pair anti-abortion bills put forward by the Panhandle Republican during his first term in Washington. One would have outlawed abortions if a fetus can feel pain, while the other would have made permanent the current rule blocking federal funding for abortions.
“The continued support of the pro-life community is truly an honor. I believe each life in the womb has worth and dignity, and I will continue fighting for the sanctity of human life in the halls of Congress and all across Northwest Florida. I vow to keep working tirelessly for the most defenseless in our society,” Gaetz said.
Florida Right to Life’s endorsement comes one day after Gaetz earned the backing of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, an affiliate of the Humane Society that advocates for animal protection laws at the state and federal levels.
Gaetz faces Chris Dosev and John Mills in the Aug. 28 Republican primary.
Dosev was the third-place finisher in the crowded 2016 Republican primary for CD 1. He and Mills had less than $20,000 combined at the end of the first quarter while Gaetz had raised about $600,000 for his campaign and had $385,000 on hand.
Phil Ehr and Jennifer Zimmerman are competing for the Democratic nomination, though they pose little threat in the deep-red district — Gaetz defeated 2016 Democratic nominee Steven Specht by 39 points, and President Donald Trump carried CD 1 by the same margin.
CD 1 covers all of Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.