State Sen. Don Gaetz will not be running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
NWF Daily News staff writer Tom McLaughlin says the Niceville Republican could be a candidate for the seat of Northwest Florida Congressman Jeff Miller, who hinted at a Senate run to replace presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
With only about 530 days until the Senate election, Gaetz believes the time is short for a candidate without statewide name recognition to mount a campaign.
“In order for me to be a credible statewide candidate I would have to spend every day between now and election day introducing myself to people across Florida,” Gaetz tells NWFDailyNews.com. “That would require me having to resign my seat in the state Senate.”
Gaetz, who will be term-limited in 2016, does not want to leave the Florida Legislature early, and is reluctant to force a special election on constituents.
If asked about a premature Senate exit, Gaetz said that the only “truthful answer” would be that he was seeking another political campaign.
“I believe resigning my seat to do that is wasteful and wrong,” he added.
Although Gaetz tells McLaughlin he would throw his full support behind Miller, a fellow conservative, should he run for Rubio’s seat, the former Senate President will not campaign for Florida’s First Congressional District unless there is a confirmed vacancy.
Through his career, Gaetz says he has represented much of CD 1 as it is currently drawn, which covers Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, Escambia and part of Holmes Counties.
Gaetz is the second state senator to consider Miller’s U.S. House seat. Baker Republican Greg Evers also announced he is considering Miller’s job if Miller runs for Senate.