Gaetz running hard

Caught up with Matt Gaetz, candidate for House District 4, during lunch today. The 27-year-old attorney has a Republican primary in four weeks, courtesy of Ray Sansom’s recent resignation. Gaetz is part of a wave of young Republicans running for office in Northwest Florida.

Matt spent his early morning on waving on street corners. At 10 a.m. he had hearing of the F-35 coming to Eglin AFB. When the City of Valparaiso filed for an injunction to stop all F-35’s from coming to the base, Gaetz and his law firm volunteered to intervene for the F-35.

When he and I talked, Matt was in his campaign office handing out yard signs to volunteers. He says that he was completely caught off guard by Sansom’s resignation.

“I expected Ray to go the distance and thought we had six more months of campaigning to do,” says Gaetz.

He is active in the Tea Party in Fort Walton Beach and led a grassroots effort that convinced the City of Fort Walton Beach not to increase property taxes.

“I believe that Republicans are looking for candidates will return to Conservative principles.”

Gaetz has raised over $164,000 for his campaign, outdistancing his nearest rival by $100,000. I asked him if his last name (Matt is the son of powerful State Sen. Don Gaetz) helped him in raising his funds.

“Many of contributors never contributed to my father’s campaign. I’ve more contributors that have given me checks of $100 or less than my opponents have raised in total contributions. Most of those checks are from retired military who appreciate my work on the F-35s.”

Gaetz is taking advantage of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for his campaign has over 1100 friends on Facebook.

This will be a very interesting campaign to watch.