House Republicans might be annoyed at the House member from Florida…
A LOT of people back home?
They LIKE the guy….
He is polarizing in Washington and polarizing at home. And in both places these days, he is getting more attention than anyone might expect, given his lack of seniority and thin legislative record.
As Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida orchestrated the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday, constituents in his overwhelmingly Republican district had plenty of thoughts about their congressman’s actions and suddenly robust national profile.
“If we got rid of the speaker of the House, hopefully we get someone in there who doesn’t make backdoor deals with Democrats,” said Sandra Atkinson, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Okaloosa County, adding that Republicans were proud of him for following through on his word.
Critics in his district saw a political moment that was about ego and ambition and little more.
“He is following through on using chaos as both a performative art — that phrase is overused but it’s true — and because he’s frustrated he’s not getting his own way,” said Phil Ehr, a Democrat who ran against Mr. Gaetz in 2018 and is now running for the U.S. Senate. “In some ways, he’s acting like a petulant child.”…
Mr. Gaetz is widely disliked by his peers in Congress but is grudgingly acknowledged to be smart and crafty, and certainly a master of drawing attention to himself. Mr. Gaetz was re-elected last year while under the cloud of an investigation in a federal sex-trafficking case that ultimately resulted in no criminal chargesagainst him. (A congressional ethics review is pending.) Twice, women have been arrested after throwing their drinks at him.
Now, his support for a far-right posture that could shut down the federal government — directly affecting many of the people he represents — is unlikely to dent him, his critics acknowledged.
“He is loved by the First Congressional District,” said Mark Lombardo, who unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Gaetz in last year’s Republican primary….
“He was Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump,” Mr. Lombardo said of the congressman, “and the First District is all about Trump.”
No other congressional district in the country has as many military veterans, a group that could have been badly hurt by a shutdown. Yet even his critics concede that Mr. Gaetz remains popular among them….