The latest GOP Congressional debate to decide who will replace Rep. Jeff Miller had plenty of fireworks Saturday night at Milton High School. Businessman and Marine Corps veteran challenged State Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is considered by many as frontrunner, and his driving record.
“Are there benefits of being part of the Criminal Justice Committee?” asked Dosev of Gaetz. “Because after all, I know you like to quote the Tampa Bay Times, man.”
He quoted at Tampa Bay Times article (“Lawmaker’s talk of mug shot raises questions about DUI arrest,” 2/17/14): “He didn’t have his license suspended for a year when he refused a breath test as Florida Law dictates and he didn’t have that refusal used against him in a criminal proceeding.”
Dosev asked, “Is that one of the pluses of being part of the Criminal Justice Committee?”
Gaetz has chaired the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. He was arrested on DUI charges in 2008. The case was later dropped.
The state representative didn’t take the bait, “For all of our radio listeners, I’d like to welcome you to the Chris Dosev insults and injuries hour, where we’re focusing on everything other than the issues important to Northwest Floridians. I will say, Chris, that I was the Florida Sheriffs’ Association Legislator of the Year. I was the Florida Police Chiefs’ Association Legislator of the Year. Twice. I was the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association Legislator of the Year. Twice. We did all these things because we made meaningful reforms that kept our communities safer.”
Dosev interrupted, “You didn’t have to worry about your breath test. That’s great. That’s wonderful that you’ve commended yourself. At the end of the day, other people had to go to jail. I’m not losing it man.”
Gaetz moved to change the conversation. He said, “Look, right now we live in a circumstance where Muslim terrorism is on the marge. We’ve got an illegal immigration crisis and a debt that’s 19 trillion dollars so I think in this campaign we probably have more important issues to deal with than my driving record from 8 years when I was 26 years old.”
Voices got louder as two candidates fought to be heard.
“Let me tell you what,” said Dosev. “Those other issues are important and terrorists are important.”
Gaetz asked, “Are you questioning my character?”
“I’m speaking now,” said Dosev.
“Are you?” asked Gaetz
“I’m speaking now,” said Dosev. “Character is important and people need to have things illustrated to them that you hide. All I’m doing is illustrating these things and when you talk about killing Muslim terrorists let me tell you what, you’re not going to be killing any Muslim terrorists. I’ve already talked to you about this. My son with 3rd battalion 6th Marines. He may be killing Muslim terrorists, but let me tell you, when folks talk about these things and the way you’ve discussed it both on your ads and in the paper are irresponsible and juvenile. We’re not playing ‘Call of Duty’ here. This is serious business and people that have been in this business understand it to be so.”
“Cris, listen man,” said Gaetz. “If character is an issue in the campaign, I believe we’re getting a good display of that this evening.”
Dosev replied, “You better believe we are.”
Earlier in the night, Dosev also challenged fellow candidate Rebekah Bydlak. Gaetz came to her defense.
Cris Dosev: Becca, I got to tell you, I’m a little confused because at the end of the day, you claim that you have abut 350 supporters who raised aver $140,000. It’s very public information, FAC reports that 95% of the money that you’ve raised has come from the Club for Growth. They’re pro-amnesty, open borders, send our jobs overseas. The number one organization behind the Democratic Party, that has run nearly 3 million dollars in negative ads against Trump, how do you explain that?
Matt Gaetz: Chris, why don’t we stick to the issues?
Cris Dosev: This is an issue.
Matt Gaetz: No, it’s a personal attack on someone.
Cris Dosev: People need to understand this.
Matt Gaetz: You said in your opening you came to talk about your credentials. Why don’t we stick to those things?
Cris Dosev: No, no, no. This is a debate and we are debating.
Matt Gaetz: Why don’t we debate issues, not attacking…
Cris Dosev: Because this is an issue. If you say on one hand you represent the people here, that you support Trump, and you support shutting down the borders but the people that are funding your campaign are anti-Trump and for professional-amnesty and illegal immigration. How do you reconcile that?
Rebekah Bydlak: Well Cris, bless your heart, I’ve been fighting for liberty around here since before you lived in the district …
Cris Dosev: Not really.
Rebekah Bydlak: And I care very much about defending freedom. I appreciate Matt for the call to stick to the issues. My supporters, and I’m proud of every single one of them, some of them chose to do what is called bundle their contributions through an organization that [inaudible] for the free-market and for fiscal conservatism. It’s an absurd issue to even come up. Thank you for pointing out that I have a lot of free market supporters on my side and I appreciate the fact that we’ve had time to talk about my donors. Now let’s talk about the ideas that matter to northwest Florida.
Cris Dosev: Well these ideas do matter and I’ll tell you why they matter. Because you’re taking American jobs, you’re shipping them over seas, you’re destroying American worker’s rights. These are the things that do matter to people. The Club for Growth is a global organization and people that support Hilary Clinton are globalists. This is a real issue to people in northwest Florida. Particularly to the veterans in this area. We didn’t fight for this country to ship our jobs overseas and put America in the backwaters and make it a Banana Republic, so it is an issue.
By the way, I was hunting in Eglin before you were even born. So I know exactly what needs to be in northwest Florida. I’m a Gator. I graduated in ’94. Let’s talk about hard work. My wife is a hard worker. She collected over 500 petitions for me and all we had to do is raise 2,300. Do you realize you had not raise one single petition in the entire district. How does that work? And you say you’re from a coalition to reduce spending. You spent $10,000 to get on the ballot. That’s not a reduction of spending.
Rebekah Bydlak: I appreciate Cris’s insights on my campaign.