The primary contest between Rep. Alex Andrade and Cris Dosev will conclude Tuesday among the most contentious and abrasive races in the state.
The race for House District 2 — a historically right-leaning district, which covers parts of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties — highlights the lengths GOP candidates will go to prove their allegiance to President Donald Trump.
Dosev is seeking to unseat Andrade by boasting himself as a “pro-Trump conservative Marine combat veteran.” His mission: “drain” Tallahassee’s swamp.
“Dosev Derangement Syndrome is alive and well in Tallahassee,” Dosev wrote in a Facebook post which utilizes much of Trump’s terminology. “The deep state wants me nowhere near their filthy swamp. They can go pound sand!”
On social media, Dosev has compared his journey to Trump’s and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The bid for HD 2 is not Dosev’s first crack at elected office. He unsuccessfully jockeyed for Florida’s 1st Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in 2016 and 2018. In his 2018 bid, Gaetz pummeled Dosev as a Trump critic, leading to a landslide loss.
Stealing the seat from Andrade, however, will not be any easier. The freshman representative enjoys an arsenal of endorsements including two Trump allies, Gaetz and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Representative Andrade has shown his commitment to making America Great Again by fighting to ban sanctuary cities in Florida, fighting for the right to life, protecting our 2nd Amendment and making Florida’s economy the best in the country,” Gaetz said.
Moreover, Gaetz has proven himself more than willing to attack Dosev on Andrade’s behalf. In one instance, Gaetz, who has more than 628,000 followers, tweeted that Dosev does not have Trump’s support and can not be trusted.
The back-and-forth between opponents has also spread into the television market with heated attack ads fired from both directions.
“Angry Alex Andrade constantly attacks veterans, bullies mothers and grandmothers, and worst of all, he sponsored a gay rights bill that paves the way for men to play on girls’ sports teams and men to go in women’s bathrooms,” said one Dosev ad.
In another ad, Andrade claimed “liberal Chris Dosev is a never-Trumper who attacked the President’s character” and took money from the Stomp Donald Trump PAC.
Both candidates refuted claims made by their opponent in the television ads.
As of Friday, Dosev has roughly $12,597 left in his campaign account. His best contribution period was the most recent, recording roughly $16,470 in contributions.
Meanwhile, Andrade has $22,982 left in his and another $65,502 in his political committee, Constituent Priorities.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Pensacola Democrat Dianne Krumel in November. She has $31,294 on the hand.