Weatherford endorses Gregg in Pasco GOP primary
Republican House candidate Jim Mathieu, his party's leader in Pasco County, is getting snubbed again by outgoing House Speaker Will Weatherford.
Weatherford is endorsing Mathieu's opponent, Chris Gregg, in the House District 36 Republican primary.
"Pasco County needs effective leaders to help represent our great county in Tallahassee," Weatherford said in a statement released Tuesday.
He went on to praise Gregg for being a veteran, as well as his background in business and the health care industry.
Gregg was an Air Force medic and currently works for a laboratory testing company, Miramar-based American Health Associates.
“I’m thrilled and humbled to receive the support of such a great leader for our state and our county," Gregg said.
While Weatherford's choice of endorsement might seem surprising, it's not exactly precedent-setting.
When Mathieu ran for District 36 in last summer's special election, Weatherford endorsed Mathieu's GOP rival, Bill Gunter.
Other members of Pasco's Republican legislative delegation did the same also.
At the time, Mathieu said he posed a threat to the "old boy establishment."
Of Weatherford's latest endorsement, he said, "I'm an indpendent voice and I think he realizes that."
Mathieu added, "I highly doubt if Will Weatherford knows Chris Gregg in any way, shape or form. Chris Gregg is not involved in anything. Why Will Weatherford would support Chris Gregg, I mean he ran 10 years ago as an independent."
Gregg ran unsuccessfully for state House in 2000 as a no-party candidate.
In 2012, he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for Pasco County Commission, District 3. He lost in the primary to Kathryn Starkey.
Gregg said he expects to pick up Republican state Sen. John Legg's endorsement as well.
The primary winner will take on Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, in November.