Matt Gaetz eclipses $729K-raised mark for congressional campaign

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

State Rep. Matt Gaetz has raised $729,000 in his bid to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, including $367,000 in the last quarter, his campaign announced today.

“I’m honored that conservatives across Northwest Florida are joining our campaign at a rapid pace,” Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, said in a statement.  “America faces serious challenges, and it is past time for Congress to secure the border, balance the budget and follow the constitution.”

With 800 donors, the campaign said it has recruited 200 volunteers, visited over 16,000 homes in the district, made 7,700 phone calls and has 41,000 Facebook fans.

The campaign also said it will begin on Tuesday airing its first TV ad, where Gaetz emphasizes his support for gun rights and his opposition to “radical terrorism,” on broadcast stations throughout the district. The ad has been running on cable for the last two weeks.

“With well over $400,000 cash on hand, we have the resources to share Matt’s outstanding conservative record with tens of thousands of Republican primary voters,” said Ryan Smith, Gaetz’s campaign manager.  “We are prepared to win this race on the ground and in the air.”

Gaetz is the first of eight Republican candidates running in Congressional District 1 to announce his fund-raising totals. The finance reports are due Friday.

Other major candidates in the race include state Sen. Greg Evers of Baker and James Zumwalt, an aide to Miller, the retiring congressman.

Lloyd Dunkelberger is a Tallahassee-based political reporter and columnist; he most recently served as Tallahassee bureau chief for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.