Ben Albritton, Senate Republicans support Don Gaetz’s comeback bid in SD 1
Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Don-Gaetz-2 (1)
'Don Gaetz is a statesman and a warrior.'

Eight former Florida Senate Presidents have already endorsed Don Gaetz’s plan to return to the chamber. Now, a future one has as well.

Senate President-designate Ben Albritton is backing the Panhandle Republican in Senate District 1.

“Don Gaetz is a statesman and a warrior for the cause of conservatism,” said Albritton, a Wauchula Republican. “I admire his passion for the people of Florida’s Panhandle and his commitment to ensuring they have a strong voice in Tallahassee. I am proud to endorse Don Gaetz and look forward to welcoming him back to the Florida Senate.”

Albritton chairs the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRSCC), and will take over as Senate President in November so long as Republicans maintain a majority.

That’s not likely going to hinge on results from SD 1, a district where more than 71% of voters supported Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election in 2022 and where more than 63% of voters backed Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election.

But the endorsement from Albritton and the FRSCC make clear who Senate Republican leadership wants filling the open seat.

Gaetz, a former Senate President himself, announced in October he wanted to return to the chamber. The prominent Panhandle leader is running to succeed Sen. Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican who succeeded Gaetz in the Senate in 2016.

These days, Gaetz is known nationally as the father of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, but he remains one of Florida’s GOP power players.

To date, he faces no Republican opposition. Frank White, a former state Representative, previously had filed for the seat and appeared to be a front-runner, but he dropped out after Gaetz announced his interest in returning to Tallahassee.

Support from the FRSCC essentially signals a desire by Senate Republicans that any other GOP members stay out of the race and avoid a primary.

Gaetz does face Democratic opposition. Gulf Breeze News publisher Lisa Newell filed for the seat earlier this month.

The FRSCC had stayed fairly quiet this cycle. But as a June 14 qualifying deadline approaches, Albritton in the last week has endorsed a number of experienced lawmakers in open seats, including state Reps. Randy Fine in Senate District 19, Tom Leek in Senate District 7 and Keith Truenow in Senate District 13.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 27, 2024 at 10:21 pm

    What up with coming out of retirement?

    Groomer Gaetz can’t get dates or what?

    Power is an afro deez nuts iac. Everybody hide your brownish male children!

Comments are closed.


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