Congressional District One

Al Lawson via facebook / https://www.facebook.com/AlLawsonJr/

The 115th Congress took their oaths Tuesday, becoming the most diverse class of lawmakers yet. The cohort includes North Florida’s brand new delegation: Republicans Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach, Neal Dunn of Panama City, and Democrat Al Lawson of Tallahassee. All are freshmen members of Congress, though Gaetz and Lawson both served in the Florida Legislature. Paul Ryan, the newly re-elected Speaker of the House, swore in the representatives together.

Kate Payne / WFSU News

Two North Florida congressional candidates are hoping to reach voters who are turned off by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Democrats Steve Specht and Walt Dartland are running in the predominantly conservative Florida Panhandle, Specht in District 1 and Dartland in District 2.

Republican Congressional hopeful Mary Thomas accepting the endorsement of Gun Owners of America in Tallahassee.
Nick Evans

Florida’s panhandle is a conservative stronghold that reliably sends Republicans and the occasional centrist democrats to Congress.  Because of that, conventional party distinctions don’t play out the same way they do in other parts of the country.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar)
The Florida Channel

An open North Florida congressional seat has its first candidate in state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. Gaetz announced his bid Monday and endorsed Donald Trump for President.