At the end of every week, we praise a political playmaker, “swipe left” on the week’s biggest political loser, and explain what it all means for Florida’s political arena.
CHAMP: Congressman Matt Gaetz
While all eyes are fixated on the pivotal 2020 presidential election — and rightfully so — the 2024 elections are right around the corner.
Although many Republicans are on pins and needles hoping President Donald Trump can defy early polling numbers again to retain the White House, many political circles are already speculating who could be Trump’s successor to carry to conservative baton. And with the well oiled political machine running nonstop, a shortlist of potential candidates have already emerged.
One name on that list is an ardent ally to Trump who is known for his fiery politics and outspoken conservatism.
While Gaetz told reporters that he wouldn’t be running in 2024, a lot can change in four years — especially if the party is behind you. And already, the Florida Republican has seen several big names in the media predict that he could make a run in 2024.
On Monday, Roger Stone spoke with CBS Miami and made his early picks for 2024. Gaetz made the list, with Stone touting the conservative’s loyalty.
“Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz comes to mind as a future presidential candidate,” Stone told Jim DeFede. “He’s got a lot of guts.”
Roger Stone’s early picks to run for President in 2024: @DonaldJTrumpJr, @RepMattGaetz and General Michael Flynn.
More of my interview with Stone tonight at 6 and 7 on @CBSMiami
cc @CBSNews @edokeefe @Elaine_Quijano @CBSPolitics pic.twitter.com/vLibLYiiqi
— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) July 14, 2020
Stone would follow this prediction up in an interview with Fox News, announcing his support for a Gaetz ticket.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz from Florida, who I hope to live long enough to see in the White House,” Stone told Sean Hannity. He was a great friend who never gave up and tried to make sure everybody understood the injustice I had been through.”
“Congressman Matt Gaetz from Florida, who I hope to live long enough to see in the White House…he was a great friend who never gave up and tried to make sure everybody understood the injustice that I had been through.” -Roger Stone pic.twitter.com/YDz2uonNnF
— Luke Ball (@LukeTBall) July 14, 2020
Hannity also floated the idea of Gaetz running for president, saying that he thinks the firebrand can win in 2024.
“I am predicting one day Matt Gaetz will run, and has a pretty good shot of winning,” Hannity told Gaetz and political commentator Dave Rubin.
“I am predicting one day Matt Gaetz will run (for president) and has a pretty good shot at winning.” –@seanhannity
“I’m only worried about one presidential election…that’s for President @realDonaldTrump in 2020.” –@mattgaetz pic.twitter.com/DBz9ASLyiE
— Luke Ball (@LukeTBall) July 16, 2020
CHUMP: Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo
The Democratic Party of Florida has egg on their face after accepting federal aid that was intended to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facing backlash after taking $815,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, the party would eventually return the money, but the damage was already done.
With the move at odds with PPP guidelines and raising ethical questions, it was reported that party officials were weighing whether or not to oust members for the monumental blunder.
One name on the chopping block could be Rizzo, whose leadership has been put into question just months before Election Day. How did she not know about the loan? Did she look the other way? Was she complicit?
While questions remain why Democrats accepted the money, Rizzo is on thin ice as the party is set to reorganize after the November election.