With the threat of charges from the Department of Justice behind him, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is reportedly being discussed as a gubernatorial contender for 2026.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is term-limited and could possibly run for the presidency in 2024, leaving an open field for the GOP in 2026 and an avenue for Gaetz to continue his political career, per Politico.
Florida state Rep. Alex Andrade (R) told the outlet he sees Gaetz as a strong candidate in the GOP primary in 2026.
“His ability to win a larger primary I think is as strong as anyone,” Andrade said to the outlet. “I think he’s a serious candidate for any Republican primary for any race he wants to get into.”
While no candidates have declared or indicated they are running for governor of the Sunshine State, Lt. Gov. Jeannette Nunez, who would be elevated to governor if DeSantis were to become president, would be one of the top names thrown around.
Gaetz recently made headlines after the DOJ announced it would not pursue charges against him after a yearlong probe over sex trafficking accusations.
The congressman’s attorneys revealed that “the Department of Justice … investigation has concluded and that [the congressman] will not be charged with any crimes.”
As RTM reported: The New York Times reported in March 2021 that Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl he paid to travel with him. Gaetz denied the accusations, alleging the investigation that followed was a farce and that he was the victim of “organized criminal extortion.”
“Over the past several weeks, my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name,” Gaetz posted on Twitter. “We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter,” he added.
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