Cris Dosev is making another run for Congress, seeking the Republican nomination for Florida House Distrct-1 for the second straight election. He recently sat down with WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody.
In 2016, Dosev placed second in the GOP primary with 25 percent of the vote, falling short to eventual winner Matt Gaetz’ 33 percent in the crowded field. That race was for an open seat, and two years later it’s a rematch with Gaetz now the incumbent. Because of that, Dosev says his strategy has changed significantly.
“In the past, all we could talk about was what you perceived you would be able to do, and your own credentials,” said Dosev. “This time, we have a record. We can go and illustrate to people specifically how [Gaetz] has voted; policy positons he’s taken, where he’s failed. Now, who’s going to defend it? Unfortunately he’s made very little effort to try to defend it.”
Dosev has crafted his campaign towards what he believes are northwest Florida’s three main constituencies: veterans, small business, and farmers.
“Farmers, of course, are small business operators,” said Dosev. “They’re concerned about economic issues, they’re concerned about legislation that affects them. They’re just as concerned as everybody else healthcare. And everybody in the district is concerned about clean water, clean air, and securing and protecting our beaches.”
One long-standing issue heading into the 2018 race has been beach access in Walton County and by extension, the rest of the Panhandle. Gov. Rick Scott imposed an executive order placing a moratorium on any new state regulation that could inhibit public beach access — and urges local government officials to take similar steps.
“Beaches that had been re-nourished with federal monies; there’s no other way to describe it than a ‘land grab’ from the people that have been here for generations,” Dosev contends. “It’s just downright wrong.”
Listed on his campaign website are positions on various issues – including his call to support both the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution. Dosev addresses the Second first, starting with a new Florida law raising the minimum age for gun purchases.
“The notion that we raise the age from 18 to 21 is a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy that occurred at Parkland, and does not sit well with those individuals in this district that defend the Second Amendment,” said Dosev. "It’s clear to me that that right is not to be infringed."
“Getting to the First Amendment – freedom of the press, freedom of religion; freedom to peacefully demonstrate and protest. Without the First Amendment, and without defending the First Amendment, truthfully all of the other amendments fall away.”
Heading into the 2018 election cycle, Obamacare — or rather its future and/or fate — is an issue that continues to spark debate. Dosev subscribes to the Republican mantra of “Repeal and Replace,” with the government allowing people to set aside money for health care along with the option of catastrophic health insurance coverage.
“Some of the arguments about buying insurance across state borders; when you actually do the analysis, you come to realize that those are makeshift solutions that don’t nearly address the issue of things being overpriced, profit-motivated, and people not participating fully in their own care and health,” says Dosev.
While not endorsed by President Trump, Dosev nonetheless gives him high marks for pushing immigration reform back onto the Congress for resolution.
“There are plenty of people taking advantage of the legal ways of immigration; create all these special visa requirements that only certain people can handle properly,” said Dosev. “All of immigration needs to be reformed. We need to enforce the laws we have now, but the legal side is just as broken and being exploited.”
Chris Dosev places a great deal of emphasis on his career as a Marine Corps combat aviator. That, his family, his faith and his time as a real estate developer have combined to shape his politics and worldview.
“The Marine Corps taught me to be tenacious; to be goal-oriented and not afraid to take on the fight,” Dosev says. “[Confederate General] Stonewall Jackson made it perfectly clear: ‘never take counsel in your fears.’ Our campaign is fearless.”
Along with Dosev and Matt Gaetz, businessman and Navy pilot John Mills is also seeking the GOP nomination. Whoever emerges next Tuesday will meet the Democratic nominee – either Phil Ehr or Jennifer Zimmerman – on November 6.