1. News
  2. /
  3. Florida Politics
  4. /
  5. The Buzz

Matt Gaetz and Chris Latvala Twitter feud: politics, sex and daddy

State Rep. Chris Latvala and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz logged on yesterday.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Florida Rep. Chris Latvala. [Times]
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Florida Rep. Chris Latvala. [Times]
Published Jan. 14
Updated Jan. 14

A Twitter spat between Matt Gaetz and Chris Latvala, two prominent Florida Republicans, turned nasty Monday night.

It all started with a tweet about Al Sharpton.

State Rep. Latvala, R-Clearwater, tweeted a picture from a meeting he had with the longtime civil rights activist and MSNBC host.

“It was an honor to meet @TheRevAl today,” Latvala tweeted.

Gaetz, a Republican U.S. Congressman who represents Fort Walton Beach, was not a fan of the tweet.

“Sharpton has called Cops ‘pigs;’ Whites ‘interlopers;’ Greeks ‘homos’ and Jews ‘diamond merchants,’” Gaetz tweeted in response. “So that is pretty disgusting.” (Side note: Gaetz provided a ticket to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union speech to a white nationalist.)

That’s when things got personal.

Latvala, the son of the once-powerful state Sen. Jack Latvala, fired back at Gaetz, accusing the congressman of creating a “game” that involved a sexual scoring system when Gaetz was a state representative.

In a text message, Latvala cited a 2013 tweet by Politico’s Marc Caputo, who was then at the Miami Herald, that explained the alleged game: legislators got one point for sleeping with a lobbyist; two points for sleeping with Legislative staff; three for another legislator; six for a married legislator.

Gaetz, in a Tuesday text to the Tampa Bay Times, said he had “no idea what Chris was talking about” before referencing Latvala’s father.

“I know Jack Latvala has to resign in disgrace over demanding sexual favors from lobbyists in exchange for appropriations, so it was likely Chris projecting,” Gaetz told the Times. “I don’t start conversations with people on Twitter about their sex lives. Especially Latvalas.”

Gaetz also referenced the sex and corruption scandal that resulted in the elder Latvala resigning from his state Senate seat in his online response to the younger Latvala.

Related story: Jack Latvala resigns from the Florida Senate

“Just because I own you on twitter, don’t confuse me for your daddy when it comes to abusing power for sex,” Gaetz tweeted. “Also, I missed the defense of Sharpton in your reply.”

Not to be outdone, Latvala then invoked Gaetz’ 2008 arrest in Okaloosa County for driving under the influence. (The case was later dropped; read more about that here.)

“Have you been drinking tonight? I hope you don’t get behind the wheel," Latvala tweeted. “I know you have had a rough few days up there.”

“I spent my day talking to my friend & supporter, the President. You spent yours with Al Sharpton,” Gaetz tweeted.

“Yep,” Latvala responded." “I’m not afraid to meet with folks with differing opinions than mine. Hence why I posted the picture on Twitter....”


  1. Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the ​U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    It’s also the first visit by any Democratic contender this year
  2. Jimmy Patronis had been appointed to the state’s Public Service Commission by Gov. Scott.
    FDLE cited a ‘potential conflict,’ Leon County State Attorney Jack Campbell said.
  3. Gov. Ron DeSantis. [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    Florida students will read more classical literature and learn math differently, according to summary documents.
  4. Florida House Speaker José Oliva made hospital deregulation one of his top priorities. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
    Speaker José Oliva slammed pharmaceutical companies in his opening day speech, but a bill to place $100 caps on co-payments for insulin will not pass this year. In fact, it won’t even get a hearing.
  5. The Florida Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Judge Renatha Francis has not been a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years.
  6. State Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, speaks before volunteers with the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action outside the Florida Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. [[LAWRENCE MOWER | Tampa Bay Times]]
    Like it has since the Parkland massacre, the gun debate is growing fierce in Tallahassee. But there are some significant changes this year.
  7. West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James talks with his Director of Communications Kathleen Walter while going over the state of the city address in his office at the City of West Palm Beach municipal building in West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James leads a city about the same size as Buttigieg’s South Bend. Here’s what his day looks like. Is this presidential experience?
  8. The Florida Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    “Death is indeed different,” wrote the lone dissenting justice. “This Court has taken a giant step backward."
  9. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.
  10. Wichita State Shockers center Jaime Echenique (21) and USF Bulls guard David Collins (0) battle for the loose ball during the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa on Tuesday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Lawmakers may require public colleges and universities to ask permission before selling naming rights.