Gaetz gets last-minute primary challenger in Florida

Gaetz gets last-minute primary challenger in Florida

A former naval aviator has launched a last-minute primary challenge against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), filing last week to run for the House in Florida’s 1st Congressional District.

Aaron Dimmock filed to run as a Republican in Gaetz’s district last Friday, the qualifying deadline for federal and judicial candidates in the Sunshine State.

Dimmock is the only Republican challenger against Gaetz this election cycle and will face off with the incumbent in Florida’s Aug. 20 primary.

He is a former naval aviator, the Pensacola News Journal reported, and appears to have recently served as the director of the Missouri Leadership Academy in Missouri, according to his apparent LinkedIn profile.

The Hill reached out to Dimmock’s campaign for further comment.

In a statement to The Hill, Gaetz called Dimmock a “Missouri-based DEI instructor.”

“Aaron is not in Kansas City anymore. This is Trump Country. Our pronouns are USA and MAGA. I’m a proud Trump Republican. I stand shoulder to shoulder with President Trump to defeat Joe Biden, secure our border, restore our economy, and support our veterans,” Gaetz wrote Monday.

In a separate post Monday on the social platform X, Gaetz posted a purported screenshot of Dimmock’s LinkedIn repost of a “#blacklivesmatter” post four years ago. The screenshot showed wrote, “We remain committed to making it better,” accompanying the repost.

Prior to Dimmock’s last-minute filing, Gaetz was expected to easily go to the general election against Democratic challenger Gay Valimont, campaign filings indicate. Valimont is a gun violence prevention activist in Pensacola, according to her campaign website.

Gaetz, 41, has served in the House since 2017, representing Florida’s 1st Congressional District, which covers the state’s western Panhandle. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district as “solid Republican,” with a score of R+19.

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