A Marine veteran has qualified to run against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in the Republican primary for the District 1 House seat in northwest Florida.
Cris Dosev announced Wednesday that his campaign has collected enough voter signatures to have his name placed on the August primary ballot. Dosev needed 5,303 voter signatures to make the ballot. The Florida Division of Elections verified Dosev has 6,021 signatures
“It would have been a whole lot easier to write a check and buy a spot on the ballot,” Dosev said. “But when this campaign started, Lisa (his wife) and I agreed that any candidate asking to represent Northwest Florida in Washington owes it to Northwest Florida to do it right or not at all. We decided to leave it up to District 1 voters to decide who they wanted to see on the ballot.”
Dosev has been critical of Gaetz’s comments on issues and actions since becoming a freshman congressman. Last month he criticized Gaetz support of increased age restrictions on gun purchases.
“My opponent Matt Gaetz’s support for more age restrictions, the latest attempt at creeping gun control, is just another promise broken to please his Washington establishment bosses,” Dosev said at the time.
In Wednesday’s announcement, Dosev appeared to lash out at Gaetz’s conservative values by saying he started his campaign by asking voters “if they’d put an authentic, fiscally conservative, family values Republican on the ballot.”
“This is not a phone-in campaign or a television camera opportunity,” Dosev said in an apparent reference to Gaetz’s frequent appearances on Fox News.
One other Republican, John Mills, has filed to run for the nominations, but Gaetz is still considered to be the front-runner. In addition to his numerous cable news appearances, he is a strong ally of President Donald Trump who Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Times last September is “about as popular as oxygen in my district.”