Matt Gaetz’ tweet heard ’round the (north Florida political) world

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While much of Florida’s political establishment was still shaking off its New Year’s hangover, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz posted a tweet that largely went unnoticed yet may have major ramifications on the 2014 and 2016 election cycles.

Gaetz, one of the state’s most prolific political tweeters, pushed out, “Why would @JimmyPatronis say I’m not going to run for the FL Senate? Who supports a guy who backed @charliecristfl over @marcorubio?” The conservative firebrand is referring to the north Florida state Senate which will open up in 2016 when Gaetz’ father, current Senate President Don Gaetz, is termed out of office. The younger Gaetz is widely expected to run for this seat, as is Jimmy Patronis, setting up a showdown of two Panhandle powerhouses.

There is, however, one catch for Patronis: he’s termed out of the Florida House in 2014, so he’ll be away from the action for at least two years. Patronis has already filed to run for the State Senate, knowing that his best opportunity to raise campaign money will be during his last two years in the House.

But with his tweet, Gaetz has indicated that he’s not going to give Patronis a two-year head start, although Gaetz must first run in 2014 for re-election to the House before he can turn his attention to a Senate bid.

Again, because it was a holiday week, most Florida politicos were not in front of a computer and may not have noticed Gaetz’ tweet. But if ever there was an online equivalent of a warning shot across the bow, Gaetz just fired it.

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.