Firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is hardly dismissing rumors that he is leaning toward a run for the Florida governor’s mansion in 2026. He did insist that priority number one is ensuring that former President Donald Trump is successful in his bid for a second term in the White House.
Gaetz served as a senior advisor for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ run for the state’s highest office in 2018. But his loyalties are fiercely behind Trump and he is now one of the former president’s most vocal supporters.
🚨Rep. Matt Gaetz expected to run for Governor of Florida in 2026
He has my full support if he does
This state only wants the toughest and truest Republicans fighting on their behalf
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) September 18, 2023
NBC News reported that conversations spread throughout Tallahassee that the congressman will be a candidate in 2026. DeSantis faces term limits and will be unable to seek reelection.
He will, however, have two years remaining in office if his current bid for president is unsuccessful.
Gaetz attended a Sunday night reception in the capital city for Miami Republican state Rep. Danny Perez. NBC said that Gaetz was “kind of holding court” and dropped several hints that he would seek the governorship.
One Florida lobbyist told the outlet that the possible candidacy was widely discussed at the gathering. He added that “Gaetz was telling people to basically expect him to be in.”
When asked by NBC on Monday about his aspirations for governor, the representative did not dismiss the notion. “Many did encourage me to consider running for governor one day. But we have an outstanding governor who will be in that position through 2026.”
He added, “My only political focus right now is Trump 2024.”
One prominent state Democrat agreed that Gaetz would be a serious candidate. Attorney John Morgan is a major political donor, and he asserted that he believes Gaetz will be part of the next race.
Morgan noted that he would be running in a crowded field and “he could win with 30%. Trump’s endorsement alone gets him that.”
The former president has not directly addressed the next race for Florida governor. But a GOP operative told NBC that Trump would throw his prestigious support behind his ally and Gaetz is “100% in.”
Trump’s endorsement would make him, according to the Republican source, an “instant frontrunner.” The former president’s campaign declined to comment, but it is widely known that his endorsement played a major role in propelling DeSantis to victory in 2018.