Don Gaetz seeks return to Florida Senate

POTD_Don Gaetz
The former Senate President filed paperwork Monday morning.

Don Gaetz wants his old job back.

The Republican former state Senator and titan of Panhandle politics filed papers Monday morning to officially launch his 2024 campaign for Senate District 1, the same district he served for six years, including two years as Senate President. Florida Politics broke the news in its Sunburn newsletter this morning.

The official launch follows some speculation that Gaetz would run. It also comes as many wonder whether his son, Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, is positioning himself for a 2026 bid for Florida Governor.

Should the senior Gaetz win, it could mean he’s wielding power in the Senate while his son campaigns for Governor. Though the junior Gaetz has downplayed rumors that he’s running for Governor in 2026, many are expecting he will. He’s a conservative firebrand and a known name nationally, and could rely on former President Donald Trump, another Florida politician, to support him.

And as to whether a Gaetz downplay means anything, the senior Gaetz just days ago told media that “nobody should read into the fact that the political class is talking about both of (us),” a statement that appears to be at odds with Monday’s filing.

In the Senate, Gaetz seeks to replace Republican state Sen. Doug Broxson, who is term-limited in 2024.

Gaetz is a known and well-respected quantity in North Florida. So much so that former state Rep. Frank White contemporaneously withdrew from the race for the same seat and endorsed Gaetz when the latter filed the paperwork

“It’s been my privilege to serve in the Florida House and I intend to continue my community service in the future,” White said. “Now, however, Northwest Florida has an opportunity to be represented by Don Gaetz, a proven champion for our area and for our values.”

Gaetz thanked White for the classy move.

“He has many supporters here and in Tallahassee whose confidence I hope to earn,” Gaetz said. “I know that Frank will serve in elected office again and I look forward to working closely with him and supporting him.”

White previously had support from Broxson, the incumbent of the seat he hoped to take. Like White, Broxson promptly backed Gaetz.

“As a former presiding officer, Senator Gaetz has the skill and experience to be effective on day one,” Broxson said. “I’m delighted to endorse him and look forward to helping him win.”

Gaetz just wrapped a stint as Chairman of Triumph Gulf Coast, the entity tasked with administering money received in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. In the Senate, Gaetz had authored and passed the legislation that created Triumph Gulf Coast. He is also Vice Chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics and a board member of the Florida Education Foundation.

He is one of Florida’s richest politicians, too. When he served in the Florida Senate in 2016, he led the pack in terms of wealth with a reported net worth of around $25 million.

Danny McAuliffe

Danny is a contributor at He is a graduate of Fordham Law School and Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. Reach him at [email protected].


  • Hoppy Hopkins

    October 2, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Good mornting America,
    We are placeing the venerable Gaetz in a position of just a hop, skip, and a jump to secure the emergency election Govornor’s Office win. For which Jennet Nunez will be calling hours after Desantis POTUS win is certified.
    You can count on Earl to bring you the true word in everything politics.

    • Earl Pitts American

      October 2, 2023 at 12:12 pm

      Good mornting America,
      Hoppy is a WWII vet and I had sent him a personal email thanking him for his service to our Great Nation.
      Anyway, sorry for the mix-up the golden nuggetts words of pure “D” wisdom above are from me, Earl Pitts American, and NOT from America’s most beloved War Hero, Hoppy H, thank you all for your kind understanding.
      FUN FACT:

      Review indicates this to be my, Earl Pitts American’s, first mistake since that 1983 mix-up with that lap-dancer T T Terezzo down there at The Crazy Horse Saloon in Beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

      Thank you for your understanding and forgiveness Hoppy, Beloved Readers, and all my, Earl Pitts American’s Dook 4 Brains Haters for your complete and total understanding.
      *Earl Wisdom: “Do as I say and not as I do. EPA*

      • T T Terezzo

        October 2, 2023 at 2:05 pm

        Earl I’m pole dancing now for the guys at The Broadmore Senior Facility just north of Lauderdale if you want some more of this good stuff. TTT

    • Silly Wabbit

      October 6, 2023 at 11:49 am

      You kwazy.

  • anne mackenzie

    October 2, 2023 at 2:34 pm


  • Sonja Fitch

    October 2, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    Omg. The daddy of Mattie is a mover and shaker! Sir hope you can hush your crazy kid! Teach Mattie some manners! Omg!

    • Biscuit

      October 6, 2023 at 11:56 am

      Of course his daddy is a powerful man. You didn’t think Mattie Boy got where he is on his own, did you?
      Stupid human Matt would be selling snake oil on street corners if he hadn’t been born privileged. Instead he gets to sell it in the halls of Congress, where other stupid humans are lapping it up.
      He looks like a dog kicker, too. I can spot them.

  • Joe

    October 2, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    “Drain the swamp,” lol yeah right this is Florida.

  • Nonny Partisan

    October 3, 2023 at 5:50 am

    Somewhere in the dark Panhandle night, the ghost of Dempsey Barron is enjoying a bourbon. All will be right in Florida again.

  • Tropical

    October 4, 2023 at 7:23 am

    Just when you thought Florida couldn’t get any worse.

  • Pastor Pasta

    October 4, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    How can a guy who obviously can’t raise a son to be a decent man feel he can represent a district responsibly?

Comments are closed.


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