Speculation has been rife in political circles about Rep. Matt Gaetz’s potential bid for the Florida governorship in 2026. Recent events in Tallahassee, including a reception for the incoming speaker of the Florida House, have only added fuel to the fire.
At the heart of the speculation is Gaetz’s presence at a reception held by Miami Republican state Rep. Danny Perez, who will assume the role of speaker of the Florida House next year. During the celebrations, Perez hosted an event on Sunday evening at an AC Hotel by Marriott close to the city center.
At the gathering, Gaetz appeared to be the center of attention, and on multiple occasions, he hinted at his intentions to run for governor, as confirmed by four attendees to NBC News.
A longtime Florida Republican lobbyist present at the event remarked, “There was a lot of talk about it at the reception last night, and Gaetz was telling people to basically expect him to be in.”
While Gaetz has not publicly dismissed the idea of a gubernatorial run, he clarified his current political stance to NBC News, stating, “Many did encourage me to consider running for governor one day. But we have an outstanding governor who will be in that position through 2026. My only political focus right now is Trump 2024.”
Gaetz’s relationship with the current Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, has seen its ups and downs. Gaetz has since emerged as one of the staunchest supporters of former President Donald Trump. Trump’s influence in Florida politics cannot be understated, with his endorsement being a significant factor in DeSantis’ victory in the 2018 Republican primary.
John Morgan, a notable Florida trial attorney and Democratic political donor, weighed in on Gaetz’s chances, stating to NBC, “I think he will. He will be running in a large field. He could win with 30 percent. Trump’s endorsement alone gets him that.”
A Florida GOP operative echoed this sentiment, suggesting that Trump would undoubtedly back Gaetz. “He’s 100 percent in. I think Gaetz is an instant front-runner and from what I hear he’s already won the Trump primary.”
Throughout Trump’s presidency, Gaetz was one of his most ardent defenders in Congress. Gaetz frequently appeared on news programs to support Trump’s policies and defend him against criticisms. Gaetz and Trump have aligned on many key issues, including immigration, foreign policy, and criticisms of the mainstream media. Gaetz has often echoed Trump’s sentiments and talking points in his public statements.
As a result, Trump has publicly praised Gaetz on multiple occasions.
Apart from his political aspirations, Gaetz remains a central figure in Washington, particularly concerning the looming threat of a government shutdown. He has been vocal in his disagreements with other Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Last week he accused him of failing to uphold promises made earlier this year. Gaetz’s remarks came amid growing tensions within the Republican Party over its direction and leadership.
DeSantis’s current term ends January 2027.