Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a resident of Florida, endorsed U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz for re-election to Florida’s 1st Congressional District on Monday.
Huckabee, who lives in CD 1, said in a campaign video that he was glad the Shalimar Republican was his congressman, and said he’s lived up to his expectations during his first term in Washington.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am to watch Matt Gaetz in his very first term in Congress become a genuine leader. I knew he was pro-life. I knew he was pro-Israel. I knew that some of the things that truly matter to me as an individual mattered to Matt Gaetz, but I’m proud to see him working with President Trump,” Huckabee said.
“I’m proud to see him standing up for the rights of ordinary citizens. I’m proud to see him standing up for America and doing it boldly and effectively. I can’t think of any other freshman Congressman who has had as big an impact as Matt Gaetz has. He is highly respected among his peers, and widely trusted as somebody who is unafraid to stand for the people of his district and the people of America. I’m proud to be a Matt Gaetz supporter,” Huckabee concluded.
Gaetz has been ramping up his re-election campaign in recent weeks, announcing endorsements from the National Rifle Association, anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life and the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the political arm of the Humane Society.
He managed to land an official nod from Trump, who is expected to stump for Gaetz, as well as U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, during a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa Tuesday night.
“I have admired Governor Huckabee long before my involvement in politics, and I am thrilled to once again receive his support. His strong stand for conservative values is one which I try to emulate every single day in Congress. Governor Huckabee is an extremely influential voice in Northwest Florida, and I’m thankful to have his support,” Gaetz said, accepting the endorsement.
Chris Dosev and John Mills are challenging Gaetz 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 second quarter while Gaetz had raised more than $800,000 for his campaign and had $455,000 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 Trump carried CD 1 by the same margin.
CD 1 covers all of Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.
The endorsement video is below.