Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), whose Florida Panhandle district is buttressed by Alabama’s Mobile Bay, is telling his Republican colleagues he is seriously considering moving across state lines to run for Senate in 2020.
Gaetz’s challenger, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is widely regarded as the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbent.
Several lawmakers told The Hill about Gaetz’s recent contemplation.
Per The Hill:
“He’s talking about running for Senate in Alabama. They have a one-day residency requirement there,” said a GOP lawmaker who knows Gaetz well. “POTUS [President of the United States] would probably endorse him.”
Sources close to Gaetz, 36, said that “people in Trump’s orbit” are personally encouraging the sophomore congressman to run for the Senate seat now held by freshman Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Those Trump allies are pointing to Alabama’s liberal requirement that people can run for the Senate so long as they are 30 years old and have been a resident for a minimum of one day.
If Gaetz jumps in, he would be pitted against Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) in the GOP primary. Byrne, 64, has been traversing the Yellowhammer State for nearly a year to meet with voters and officially launched his Senate bid in February.
Byrne raised $1.2 million for his campaign in the first quarter of 2019; he has more than $2 million cash on hand.
While both Byrne and Gaetz receive similar ratings on Conservative Review’s scorecard, Gaetz’s are marginally higher – the Florida congressman’s omnipresence on Fox News has given him a reputation as one of the president’s most well-known defenders.