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Congressman Matt Gaetz rules out run for Florida governor in 2026: 'I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be'

Rep. Matt Gaetz rules out run for governor in 2026
Rep. Matt Gaetz rules out run for governor in 2026 01:26

MIAMI -- U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, at the center of a furor over his role in ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy, said he does not plan to run for governor in 2026.

McCarthy To Face Far-Right Attempt To Oust Him As House Speaker
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, speaks to members of the media outside the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 2, 2023.  Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Speaking to CBS News Miami's Jim DeFede, the congressman ruled out the possibility of seeking Florida's highest elected office when Ron DeSantis leaves the post because of term limits.

"I'm not running for governor," he said. "I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing."

Matt Gaetz, lately the chief antagonist against McCarthy over spending legislation, has represented a Panhandle district in the U.S. House since 2017. 

Gaetz is known for his strong support of former President Donald Trump and his membership in the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus in the House. 

Earlier this year, Gaetz announced that the Justice Department had decided not to file charges against him following a long-running sex-trafficking investigation.

Gaetz speaks on role in pushing Speaker McCarthy out

But Gaetz has drawn the spotlight anew for the highly charged battle over the House speaker position.

He made no apologies for his role.

"Honestly, I'm full of optimism and positivity because right now we have two terrific candidates for House speaker and our current whip, Steve Scalise," he said. "And in one of my personal mentors and heroes, Jim Jordan, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. So there are some raw feelings and emotions because, you know, folks are doing their hand-wringing and bedwetting over the end of Kevin McCarthy speakership. But I think we need to look forward."

The Florida representative said he is being motivated by the U.S. budget deficit.

"And while in Washington, D.C., I guess I'm an unpopular guy, my job is to ensure that the American experience is able to persist," he said. "And if we have a $33 trillion debt facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits, and if all these folks in Washington, D.C. want to continue to drive up spending so that they can keep taking lobbyists and special interest money to convert into favors, that's just not going to sit well with me"

Gaetz remains a strong ally of Donald Trump

During the interview with CBS News Miami, Gaetz said he plans to campaign with former President Donald Trump in coming days.

"I do have plans to campaign with him next week pending, of course, what's going on in the speaker contest? I'll be here to cast my vote for that one way or the other."

Gaetz said he spoke to Trump last night.

"He's been very encouraging of my policy goals, of getting a balanced budget, putting downward pressure on spending. And, you know, President Trump was upset that Speaker McCarthy, poorly negotiated the debt limit deal and poorly negotiated the continuing resolution."

According to reports, however, Trump signed into law in 2017 a tax bill that cost the Treasury $1.7 trillion in lost revenue.

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