WASHINGTON – Congressman Matt Gaetz likes to say that President Trump is "as popular as oxygen in my district" and Gaetz has built a national cable news profile defending him. But if he wants to continue, Gaetz will have to win a GOP primary.
Rival Cris Dosev has collected enough signatures to make it on the August ballot
"With the help of my wife Lisa and the outstanding efforts of our great campaign volunteers, we started down this road by asking Northwest Floridians if they'd put an authentic, fiscally conservative, family values Republican on the ballot," he says, taking a few implicit shots at the outspoken Gaetz.
Dosev, a Marine veteran, came in third in the 2016 GOP primary (a general election is an afterthought in the panhandle district.)
"The most significant contrast (between him and Gaetz) is experience in raising a family, in serving my country as a Marine and running a business, and that's a big deal," Dosev told the Pensacola News Journal. "That more directly represents the constituency of this district than the career politician that's basically been provided a silver spoon."
Gaetz is still the favorite, his profile — and fundraising — greatly helped by the cable news appearances, which have gotten him direct phone calls from Trump.
Responds Gaetz: "I've never lost a race. He's never won one. I expect these trends to continue."