Did Don Gaetz just throw (half of) his members under the bus?

in Uncategorized by

On Friday, it was reported that an Arlington, Va., group focused on immigration is taking aim at Senate President Don Gaetz for a piece of legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott. Gaetz’ reaction to being targeted, however, sounds like he’s throwing his Senate colleagues under the bus.

NumbersUSA, which proposes to reset the immigration numbers to 1965 levels, criticized Gaetz for the Legislature’s approval of a bill (HB 235) that could have helped young undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses. “If Florida wants to reduce illegal immigration, why would Gaetz make it easier for illegal immigrants to enjoy the benefits of citizenship here?” NumbersUSA asked in the ad that appeared Thursday in the Northwest Florida Daily News and the Panama City News Herald.

The bill was approved 115-2 in the House, with Gaetz’ son Rep. Matt Gaetz casting one of the votes in opposition. The bill was backed without opposition in the Senate.

The bill would have added paperwork from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiative known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” to a list of documents that state motor-vehicle officials could accept as proof of identity or legal presence for driver’s license applications.

Scott vetoed the bill despite the overwhelming support in the Republican-controlled Legislature. President Gaetz told the Northwest Florida Daily News that the focus on his last name in the ad may actually be an attempt to cast negative light on his son, who plans to run for his father’s Senate seat in 2016. “Why target me, who is not eligible for re-election, and none of the other 39 senators, half of whom are up for re-election?” Don Gaetz told the Daily News. “Why not target the bill sponsor, or those on the Senate committees that would consider the bill?”

Doesn’t that sound like Gaetz is egging on NumbersUSA to target other Senators? Or at least like he’s leaving crumbs for NumbersUSA to follow. Gaetz quotes read as if he plans to send the group the list of which Senators are up for re-election in 2014,

Senate Presidents should protect their members, not complain when they are targeted for leading them.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.