Former Senator Don Gaetz Launches Campaign For District 1 Seat

October 3, 2023

Former Sen. Don Gaetz has announced he is seeking the Republican nomination for State Senate District 1. The seat is currently held by Sen. Doug Broxson, who is leaving office in 2024 due to term limits.

Gaetz, father of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, represented Northwest Florida in the Senate from 2010 to 2016 and served two years as Senate president. Former State Rep. Frank White, who has been a candidate for the Senate seat, withdrew Monday to support Gaetz.

“I have a passion for public service,” White said. “It’s been my privilege to serve in the Florida House and I intend to continue my community service in the future. Now, however, Northwest Florida has an opportunity to be represented by Don Gaetz, a proven champion for our area and for our values. I am pleased to endorse him, and I will do all I can to secure his victory next November.”

“Frank White is a leader for the new Florida. He is a job-creator and business developer with a wonderful family and a deep commitment to his community,” Gaetz said. “I am proud to be his friend and have his endorsement. He has many supporters here and in Tallahassee whose confidence I hope to earn. I know that Frank will serve in elected office again and I look forward to working closely with him and supporting him.

Broxson, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined White in endorsing Gaetz. “Frank White has a bright future in public service,” Broxson said. “And Northwest Florida will be very well served with Don Gaetz back in the Senate. As a former presiding officer, Senator Gaetz has the skill and experience to be effective on day one. I’m delighted to endorse him and look forward to helping him win.”

Gaetz recently concluded five years as chairman of Triumph Gulf Coast where he presided over $300 million in grants to support job creation, career technical education and economic development in Northwest Florida. Gaetz authored and passed the legislation that created Triumph Gulf Coast which will be making an additional $1.2 billion in grants in the area over the next decade.

He is also vice cjair of the Florida Commission on Ethics and a board member of the Florida Education Foundation.

Gaetz is former superintendent of Okaloosa Schools and a long-time business owner in Northwest Florida. He co-founded VITAS Healthcare Corporation, the nation’s largest and leading provider of hospice care. Don and his wife, Vicky, have two adult children – Erin, a digital media producer and Matt, United States Congressman for Northwest Florida.


23 Responses to “Former Senator Don Gaetz Launches Campaign For District 1 Seat”

  1. Robert on October 5th, 2023 8:04 am

    I am 77 and I think we need new young blood in politics…Guys my age are out of touch with things that matter most. I didn’t vote for his son and i will not for him either.

  2. Big John on October 5th, 2023 1:15 am

    Don Gaetz championed that Christian adoption agencies could not adopt solely to heterosexual couples but must adopt out children to homosexuals. If you want a Sodom and Gommorah culture for Floriida then Don Gaetz is your man.

  3. Give me a break on October 4th, 2023 10:15 pm

    Two Gaetzs too many.

  4. George on October 4th, 2023 8:29 pm

    After seeing the shenanigans that his son pulled in Congress yesterday I may have to vote for a democratic, I hope not but young Gaetz will never get my vote again.

  5. Local on October 4th, 2023 4:35 pm

    I’m thinking that might be too much power in one family.

  6. No one on October 4th, 2023 4:11 pm

    For those advocating for term limits- let’s consider this.

    Politics was never intended to be a career. The Founding Fathers viewed it as a civic duty. So first off, we do away with pensions for serving in office. Second, you get one term in ANY office. No jumping from Senate to the House, to being a mayor- it is one term, period.

    That should take care of all of this.

  7. Well on October 3rd, 2023 7:58 pm

    Good deal !

  8. Babrbara Agerton on October 3rd, 2023 6:07 pm

    Is he as awful as his son…Matt….

  9. Native on October 3rd, 2023 4:08 pm

    It’s hard to respect him after watching his grandstanding son for so many years. The character of a man’s children says a lot about the man.

  10. Bob on October 3rd, 2023 3:31 pm

    @Not Again

    In a perfect democracy, you would be right. However, we live in a world where politicians can still gerrymander and actively suppress votes. Term limits are a useful tool to make sure, even if someone were to undermine the integrity of our electoral system, they would only be in office for a limited time.

  11. Not again on October 3rd, 2023 2:13 pm


    Correct. And that’s my point. What good are term limits if a politician can run again? Essentially, Florida’s term limits law is simply a “press reset” law.

    I’m not really a big supporter of term limits? That’s because we already have term limit laws (at least at this moment). They’re called elections.

  12. SW on October 3rd, 2023 1:52 pm

    Maybe he’d be more responsive than Broxson…?

    Interesting, the other guy dropped out, though.

  13. KIMBERLY MICHELLE DUKES on October 3rd, 2023 1:31 pm


  14. David Huie Green on October 3rd, 2023 12:58 pm

    “Don and his wife, Vicky, have two adult children – Erin, a digital media producer and Matt, United States Congressman for Northwest Florida.”

    One, anyway. I imagine he did the best he could.

    David for better people

  15. Wil.B.Ban on October 3rd, 2023 9:39 am

    Says he has a passion for public service he means he has a passion for that government money and all he can take from it all,politics is local

  16. RaD on October 3rd, 2023 9:32 am

    @NotAgain … Florida’s term limits are 8 years. They can finish a term if they hit 8 years sometime after it starts. After a two year break, they can serve another 8 years. Don Gaetz is able to run and serve 8 more years at this point because he has not held office since 2016.

  17. TEM on October 3rd, 2023 8:58 am

    We certainly need a Conservative Like Don .

  18. Mr. Metoo on October 3rd, 2023 7:13 am

    He should think bigger than state senator. Governor or U.S. Senator. Rick Scott made millions of Medicare and apparently Mr. Gaetz has also. That’s the formula. Imagine seeing Matt with his real father in Washington and not his T.V. dad.

  19. James Johnston on October 3rd, 2023 7:12 am

    @dreamboat annie

    If you thought that was ugly, you should hear the stuff his son says.

  20. Not again on October 3rd, 2023 6:46 am

    If a politician can do this, then what is the point of term limits?

  21. bob c on October 3rd, 2023 6:29 am

    No thank you…..

  22. dreamboat annie on October 3rd, 2023 3:38 am

    @james johnston .. what an ugly thing to say.

  23. James Johnston on October 3rd, 2023 1:53 am

    That’s the vacant smile of a man that is disappointed in his son.