Republican Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida is reportedly contemplating a gubernatorial run in 2026. While he has labeled such reports as “clickbait,” he hasn’t outright denied them. NBC News recently highlighted that Gaetz, serving his fourth term in Congress, is anticipated to vie for the governor’s position in his home state in the coming years.
The current Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, the second most popular GOP presidential candidate in 2024, is in his second term. Given that he cannot seek a third term, this has opened up discussions about potential successors. DeSantis’ decisive re-election in the previous year has shifted Florida’s political landscape, with many analysts now viewing it as a stronghold for the Republican Party instead of its long-standing reputation as a swing state.
Gaetz’s potential gubernatorial aspirations have become a significant talking point in Florida’s political circles. Many believe Gaetz is a top contender for the Republican nomination for governor, especially since DeSantis will be term-limited.
Recent events have further fueled the speculation. At a gathering in Tallahassee, attendees mentioned that Gaetz hinted multiple times at his intention to run for governor. One individual, identified as a lobbyist, shared that Gaetz had been openly discussing his potential candidacy. Another attendee was quoted saying that Gaetz is fully committed to the race and even suggested that former President Donald Trump will endorse him. Many perceived Gaetz as a forerunner if he decided to run for governor.
However, when approached for a comment, Gaetz emphasized his current priority is supporting Trump’s potential return to the presidency. He acknowledged that many have encouraged him to think about the gubernatorial position. Gaetz has also praised the current governor, DeSantis, who will be serving until 2026, calling him “outstanding.”
Later, when questioned by Insider about the growing speculation, Gaetz neither confirmed nor denied his intentions. He reiterated his view that the NBC report was exaggerated. Insider also mentioned that numerous state legislators have persistently encouraged Gaetz to run for governor.
In the same conversation, Gaetz criticized Republican Representative Byron Donalds of Florida, who is reportedly working on a resolution to prevent a government shutdown. Gaetz has introduced a bill to shut down the Internet Covert Operations Program, a domestic surveillance operation run by the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service. Gaetz stated that his primary focus is opposing the resolution proposed by Donalds that “funds Ukraine, Jack Smith, and a weaponized Biden government.”
Matt Gaetz was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2016. Since then, he has successfully secured his seat in three subsequent elections, representing Florida’s 1st Congressional District, which covers a significant portion of the state’s Panhandle region.