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State Senator Greg Evers Enters U.S. House Race

Dave Dunwoody

After weeks of speculation, State Sen. Greg Evers says he will run for Congress, rather than seek re-election to a third term in the Florida Senate in the re-vamped districts.

During his 11-minute address before a handful of supporters and the media at the Riverwalk in downtown Milton, The 60-year-old Republican from Baker touched on his opposition to current immigration reform proposals, Obamacare, and what he calls a broken federal government.

“These are the things that need to be stopped in Washington,” declared Evers. “And these are the things that I’m going to Washington to put a stop to it. And with that, I guess I formally announce that I’m running for Congress, District-1.”

Evers originally filed for re-election to the State Senate last October. But earlier this month he submitted a “Statement of Candidacy” with the Federal Election Commission. That, he says, let the cat out of the bag.

“It came out a little early, because we had posted it early on the federal website,” said Evers. “I wanted this to be a joyous occasion, and it is a joyous occasion. But I wanted it to be more of a celebration.”

Credit Dave Dunwoody

Greg Evers has been in the Florida Legislature since 2001, replacing Jeff Miller when Miller won a special congressional election. Evers was elected to the first of three state Senate terms in 2010. His entry into the congressional race brings to seven the number of Republicans vying to succeed Miller, who’s stepping down after eight terms.  Two Democrats are also running.

Evers also spoke about reversing the trend of Florida sending tax money to Washington, and not getting full value in return.

“Even the federal monies that we send in gas tax to Washington for our roads, we only get 86 cents out of every dollar back from Washington,” Evers said. “They call [Florida] a ‘donor state.’ And it is time that we go up there, and we raise that percentage.”

Florida House District-1 -- considered one of the state’s most conservative — borders Alabama and spans Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties, along with most of Holmes County.

The main matchup now appears to be Evers vs. state Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach, who jumped in a couple of weeks ago. Political commentator Peter Schorsch says one question to be answered is: will Evers or Gaetz pick up the endorsement of the National Rifle Association?

“Sen. Evers has a great record there, but I don’t know if anybody can get to the right of Matt on guns, and some of the other issues,” said Schorsch. “[Gaetz’] first videos that he’s been throwing out there – I mean, there’s more red meat than at a butcher shop.”

Some observers say the winner of the August 30 Republican primary is almost a lock to go to Washington, D.C.  Schorsch is among them.

“One of the things that we have seen [in 2016] is that longtime conservative Democrats finally made the switch to Republican,” said Schorsch. “In CD-1 whoever wins that is on their way to D.C.”

According to FEC records, Matt Gaetz has already raised more than $350,000. But Evers says the last time he checked it was voters – and not dollars – that elect. 

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.