Results from Florida’s primary election show that incumbent Rep. Matt Gaetz won the Congressional District 1 GOP primary by a landslide. Not only did Gaetz beat his opponent, Mark Lombardo, handsomely by over 45 points, but Gaetz also got more votes in his race than the total number of votes cast for all the candidates in the Democratic primary combined.
In a political hit ad aired by his opponent, Gaetz was accused of being the FBI informant in former President Donald Trump’s inner circle responsible for the FBI’s search at Mar-a-Lago. Trump gave a late endorsement to Gaetz, signaling to voters that the informant allegation leveraged against Gaetz was unfounded political fodder. With Gaetz cleanly sweeping his primary competition, Trump adds another notch in his belt of political influence, post-presidency.
All Dem primary candidates together got fewer votes than Gaetz alone.
— Damin Toell – this is my notice of appearance (@damintoell) August 24, 2022
Gaetz will now face Democrat challenger Rebekah Jones in the general election. Jones’ candidacy was declared valid in the 11th hour, on the day of the primary, allowing her votes to be counted. A legal battle had been waged based on Jones not meeting the state law’s criteria requiring candidates to be registered with their preferred party for a year ahead of declaring candidacy.
Jones is best known for challenging Governor Ron DeSantis over coronavirus reporting, posing as a whistleblower from within the Florida Department of Health. FDOH Office of the Inspector General issued a report showing all of Jones’ claims were determined to be unsubstantiated and all those named in the charges were deemed exonerated.
She also targeted Christina Pushaw, who’s now DeSantis’s spokeswoman, after Pushaw wrote an article in Human Events calling Jones’ claims lies. Claiming that Pushaw had doxxed and stalked her, Jones embarked on a campaign of harassment, using the legal system as a weapon.
In addition to an impressive night at the ballot box, the Gaetz family has additional news to celebrate. Today, Stephen Alford, who was convicted of wire fraud in a plot attempting to extort Gaetz’s father, was sentenced to 5 years active time followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers.
Reacting to his victory, Gaetz declared that this election was the “sweetest” of all the elections he has ever won, saying:
“To get almost 70 percent of the vote, I think really tells me a lot about the connection I have with the voters of Northwest Florida. To be nominated by my party is a tremendous honor and Im very grateful to the tens of thousand of people who came out and voted for me this election.”
When asked how he deals with his critics and moves on, Gaetz responded, “Well, I don’t work for them. I work for the people of Northwest Florida.”