Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is considering abandoning his home state to move north and challenge Alabama’s Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in 2020, according to The Hill, which reports that he’s being encouraged by members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle to run.
Gaetz, who you might recall from his extremely racist Fox News appearances, or legally dubious threats to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, has allegedly been musing aloud to fellow Republicans about making the move to Alabama, where he would face Rep. Bradley Byrne for the GOP’s Senate nomination. Candidates for Alabama’s Senate seat are required to only have lived in the state for a single day before jumping into the race.
“The Florida Panhandle is just like Mississippi and Alabama — it’s Trump country, and he’s probably got one of the best districts for Trump. Sometimes that’s all it takes,” an unnamed Republican lawmaker from Florida told The Hill, adding, “He can probably win.”
Should Gaetz win the GOP nomination, he would face off against Jones, who beat disgraced former state Supreme Court justice and credibly accused pedophile Roy Moore in a 2017 special election. And, like Moore, Gaetz would almost certainly enjoy the full-throated endorsement of Trump, who took the state by a nearly two-to-one margin in the 2016 presidential election.
Gaetz himself downplayed rumors of his potential carpetbaggery to The Hill, saying “I had a few people make mention to me that Alabama has a very short residency requirement but it’s not something I’ve looked at myself.” He added that he would likely seek re-election for his House seat instead.
However, as one of the president’s most reliable ass-kissers in Congress, the fact that, per The Hill, “people in Trump’s orbit” have been encouraging him to move is significant. And, given that Gaetz is both the embodiment of Trumpian racism, and not an accused sexual predator, he would probably have a very strong chance at ousting Jones.