The Pensacola News Journal
April 21, 2018
Matt Gaetz criticizes Roger Stone over Barbara Bush comment, Cris Dosev goes on the attack by Jim Little
The Republican primary for northwest Florida's congressional seat has turned negative in the wake of comments made by Roger Stone after the death of former first lady Barbara Bush.
Rep. Matt Gaetz's Republican primary challenger, Cris Dosev, criticized Gaetz's association with Stone, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, after Stone said Bush was a "mean-spirited, vindictive drunk" during an appearance on right-wing conspiratorial website InfoWars.
"My opponent, Matt Gaetz, called Mr. Stone 'the brightest political mind in America,' Dosev said in press release Thursday. "President Trump, on the other hand, called this self-serving political DC insider lobbyist, whose latest project is pushing pot for a personal profit, regardless of the destructive social consequences, a 'stone-cold loser' who 'always tries taking credit for things he never did.' And his best friend is our Congressman Matt Gaetz."
Stone posted a photo on Instagram that said "Barbara Bush drank so much booze, if they cremated her … her body would burn for three days."
Stone was set to speak at Okaloosa Republican Executive Committee dinner on May 12, but the group said it disinvited Stone after he made the comments.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reported Stone said he was the one who canceled the dinner because the GOP group wanted to censor his comments adding that "most Republicans HATE the Bushes.”
Gaetz told the News Journal, before a town hall event Friday at Navy Federal Credit Union's Pensacola campus, that Stoned used poor judgement when he made those comments.
"Roger made a real mistake when he attacked Barbara Bush," Gaetz said. "That was something that lacked class, and I was very critical of it. And I understand why Okaloosa County disinvited him."
Gaetz tweeted his criticism of Stone on Thursday.
"Roger Stone should not have said mean things about Barbara Bush," Gaetz wrote on Twitter.
Gaetz stood by his past compliments of Stone's political skills.
"Roger is a very capable political strategist," Gaetz said. "He was one the architects of Donald Trump's campaign, but even people who can be bright strategists can use poor judgement occasionally. And Roger certainly used poor judgement, and I criticized him for it."
As for Dosev, Gaetz said he has turned the campaign negative.
"Cris Dosev is running an exclusively negative campaign, and I'm not very interested in getting into a back and forth with a guy who has never done better than third place," Gaetz said referring to Dosev's 2016 loss to him in a seven-way race.
Dosev was in attendance at Gaetz's town hall and had a different take on the 2016 primary after learning what Gaetz said.
"Maybe if I had daddy taking care of me and intimidating everyone in the district, maybe I'd come in first too," Dosev said referring to, Gaetz's father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz. "But I'm not accustomed to having daddy taking care of me."
During the town hall, Gaetz subtly brought up the race without mentioning Dosev's name.
"I've even got one fella running against me back home who says Gaetz just wants to spend all his time on TV," Gaetz said. "You know what, I think my job is to go out there and say the things we believe, and fight for them."
Gaetz mentioned the campaign again after two veterans spoke of their support of medical marijuana.
"I was recently told by someone running against me for the job, that veterans don't care about cannabis reform," Gaetz said. "That veterans don't want me fighting for access to medical cannabis."
Dosev, who is a veteran, said Gaetz spends too much time focused on the medical marijuana issue.
"I think there was an over-emphasis on cannabis, and I think that some of the folks may have been brought here to speak about it extensively," Dosev said. "But we never heard one word about our military readiness — not one word. … He's not on the House Armed Cannabis Committee, he's on the House Armed Services Committee."
April 20, 2018
The Tampa Bay Times
The Tampa Bay TimesRoger Stone calls Barbara Bush a ‘nasty drunk’ and whips up controversy in Northwest Florida by Alex Leary
Stone no longer speaking at Okaloosa County GOP dinner.
The Okaloosa County GOP says it's uninvited Roger Stone from its annual dinner next month after he made disparaging remarks about former first lady Barbara Bush, calling her a "nasty drunk" and other things.
"It's tough to lose a speaker when you're three weeks out, but this is what I felt needed to be done out of respect for Barbara Bush," county REC Chairman Mark Franks said in a statement. "I thought he'd be entertaining but for me this went over the line."
Stone disputed the events and said he backed out. "I cancelled my appearance as the sponsors wanted to censor my public comments, which is unacceptable," he told the Northwest Florida Daily News.
On Instagram following the 92-year-old's death, Stone wrote: "Barbara Bush drank so much booze, if they cremated her … her body would burn for three days."
Cris Dosev, a Republican challenging Rep. Matt Gaetz, has played up his opponent's ties to Stone, noting Gaetz once called him "the brightest political mind in America."
"I doubt District 1 constituents familiar with Mr. Stone's unsavory background would share Mr. Gaetz's enthusiasm for him," Dosev said Thursday. "In fact, Mr. Stone's cruel attacks on the late Barbara Bush's character, hours after she passed away, is the most recent example of a disregard for basic human decency that flies in the face of core Republican principles."
Dosev on Friday praised the move to cancel Stone's speech. "Roger Stone is a despicable human being and unfit to address the patriotic constituents of Northwest Florida," he said.
The Northwest Florida Daily News
April 18, 2018
Dosev challenges Gaetz for GOP nomination by Jennie McKeon
FORT WALTON BEACH — Cris Dosev ran his first campaign for Florida’s District 1 congressman in 2016 against seven other Republicans.
This time, he has a good feeling about the November election.
″(In 2016) name recognition was everything,” Dosev said Monday during an interview at the Daily News office. “And needless to say, the Gaetz name was very popular in the community. From our perspective, we were very proud of our efforts. We went from zero percent in the polls to over 20 percent in three and a half months. We look at this particular election as a runoff. We think that there’s a lot of room there for picking up some voters.”
Dosev is the son of immigrants. His mother is from northern Spain and his father is from Bulgaria. After a career as an officer in the Marines, Dosev became a real estate developer and small business owner in Chicago where he grew up. He moved to Northwest Florida in 2009 with his wife and children.
The Pensacola man said he’s running again for Congress because he believes he best represents the district.
“I grew up shoveling coal and shoveling snow in Chicago,” he said. “I know what it means to work. I know what it means to have to put food on the table. I know what it means to defend our country.”
While Matt Gaetz has been a popular figure on cable news, Dosev said he believes it’s an “obvious weakness.”
“He may be popular in Washington and more so popular here, but at the end of the day it comes at a cost,” he said. “Because he’s made some really, really poor decisions.”
Dosev he takes issue with Gaetz being the lone “no” vote on an anti-trafficking bill last year and called the freshman congressman’s bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency as a “stunt.” He’s also concerned that Gaetz is spending too much time on his work to change marijuana to a schedule III drug to expand medial marijuana research.
“It’s problematic,” Dosev said. “We have real issues to concern ourselves with. Moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III may seem very important to him, but it’s not nearly as important to people in Northwest Florida, particularly veterans. Veteran administration has not improved, military readiness has not improved. We’re still scavenging parts off of aircraft. Why is it that (Gaetz) is busy at cannabis conferences?”
Dosev also referenced to Gaetz’s State of the Union guest, alt-right activist Chuck Johnson. Gaetz later apologized for inviting Johnson.
“Certain optics are just bad,” Dosev said. “Inviting a holocaust denier to the State of the Union? First, he embarrassed the people here in Northwest Florida. What the people here deserve is a congressman and not a showman. There’s some major differences between Matt and I. One of them is that I’m the adult in the room.”
Gaetz said he’s not worried about campaigning for the upcoming election.
“I’m focused on doing the job,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
On his website, issues that are important to Dosev include protecting the 2nd Amendment, repealing and replacing Obamacare and enforcing immigration laws. When it comes to issues closer to home, Dosev said he wants to focus on protecting military benefits, diversifying the economy and improving infrastructure.
“I’m very pleased in what I’ve seen in the way of development,” he said. “Though you come up with traffic issues. Between building new bridges, new feeder ramps or whatever it is that needs to be done to accommodate the growing population, I think all of those issues are very important. I look forward to finding solutions.”
Across the United States, politicians have been talking about a possible “blue wave” in mid-term elections. In District 1, there are two Democrats running for Congress. Retired Navy Commander Phil Ehr has qualified to be on the ballot and and Milton pediatrician Jennifer Zimmerman is raising money to get on the ballot.
Dosev said he doesn’t believe the district will turn blue, but if elected he said he would represent all Northwest Floridians.
“Everyone wants to have a viable economy,” he said. “Everybody wants a military that’s strong. Everyone wants clean air, clean water and clean beaches.”
The Pensacola News Journal
March 27, 2018
Cris Dosev gets enough signatures to challenge Matt Gaetz in Republican primary by Jim Little
Rep. Matt Gaetz will have at least one challenger in the Republican primary in August as Cris Dosev has collected enough signatures to qualify to put his name on the ballot.
The Florida Secretary of State website shows Dosev had 5,645 verified signatures as of Tuesday afternoon — 342 more than the number required to get on the ballot.
Dosev, a Marine veteran and real estate developer, ran in 2016 and came in third with almost 21 percent of the vote in the seven-way race. Gaetz beat out Dosev and former state Sen. Greg Evers with 36 percent of the vote.
Most of Dosev's signatures came from the Pensacola area, with 3,133 from Escambia County and 1,899 from Santa Rosa County.
The deadline for congressional candidates in Florida to turn in signatures is April 2.
Candidates who don't gather enough signatures will have to pay a $10,440 fee between April 30 and May 4 to get on the ballot for a party primary. Independent candidates can pay a $6,960 fee to get on the ballot for the general election.
"Once the word got out and people figured when the deadline was, it was like raining petitions on us. In a matter of 14 days, we collected 4,000 petitions," Dosev told the News Journal on Tuesday.
Dosev said he expects this year's election to be a two-person race and said his message will be about securing the economy, improving military readiness and protecting people's first and second amendment rights.
"The most significant contrast (between him and Gaetz) is experience in raising a family, in serving my country as a Marine and running a business, and that's a big deal," Dosev said. "That more directly represents the constituency of this district than the career politician that's basically been provided a silver spoon."
The Pensacola News Journal
March 27, 2018
Gaetz to face the revenge of Dosev? by Andy Marlette
Cartoon-haters, my apologies, but the resident idiot cartoonist is back at the drawing desk.
We fled Florida for a couple weeks to “tramp” around like flightless birds in the mountains, rainforests and shires of New Zealand’s South Island. The Kiwis were sweethearts. Their wine was potent. And their sheep were smarter than most of our politicians.
But as peaceful, pastoral and transcendent as New Zealand was, returning home reminds me how downright dull other parts of Earth are compared to the weird and wild world of our American animal farm.
Apparently the president had fired two- or three dozen people while we were gone. And a pornographic thespian who claims to have had unprotected “twitter” sessions with our commander in chief is now set to star on 60 Minutes.
Cover your kids’ ears. Donald and Stormy are about to make Bill and Monica look like Frankie and Annette.
Welcome to “family values conservatism” — new and improved for 2018! Remind me, which book of the Bible gives advice on sexual non-disclosure agreements?
Meanwhile back in Florida, we continue to learn that a small group of teenagers whose friends had just been shot in front of their eyes possess more brains, guts, courage and moral commonsense than all of the grownups in Tallahassee combined. But hey, so did those sheep in New Zealand.
Last week, another goofy group of grownups who proudly tout themselves as Florida’s Constitution Review Commission, voted to prohibit average Floridians from being able to vote on an assault weapons ban on this November’s ballot. Because guns don’t kill peoples’ right to vote. Politically appointed sell-outs do.
Even closer to home here in Pensacola, Mayor Ashton Hayward made his long-awaited announcement on running for reelection in 2018 — he ain’t!
A few sad fanboys, bloggers, government-worshiping talk radio hosts and ousted mayoral staffers who slurped from the taxpayer trough lamented the political fall of their once-mighty cheerleader… errr... champion.
Rumor was that City Councilman Larry Johnson ordered all urinals in the Azalea Cocktail Lounge lowered to half-flush. And it was reported that a small group of attorneys from the Beggs & Lane law firm gathered at Plaza de Luna to solemnly scatter shredded copies of the Fish House lawsuit billable hours, like ashes, o'er the sunset waters of Pensacola Bay.
But as for most folks, they just saw it coming. Some even celebrated. And the rest couldn’t have cared less. There’s more important things in life, after all. Like the Stormy Daniels interview!
Speaking of sordid Washington politics, I got a visitor from an aspiring local candidate who’s looking to take on U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in the Republican Congressional primary this fall.
Cris Dosev dropped by the PNJ with an update on his mission for petitions to qualify for this year’s ballot. April 2 is Dosev’s deadline to submit signed petitions that will then have to be verified by the Supervisor of Elections Office. As of Wednesday, he had more than 3,300 verified and another 1,500 submitted. In the end, he needs about 5,300 verified petitions to get his name on the ballot — a goal he was confident “Team Dosev” would hit.
Could the big, bad, braggadocious Gaetz really be worried about Cris Dosev?
“He’s afraid, very afraid,” Dosev says. "You've got to remember, 64 percent did NOT vote for Matt Gaetz in the GOP primary. He is through and through the GOP establishment."
If you don’t remember Dosev from the 2016 GOP primary, he finished third with about 21 percent of the vote — not bad for coming into the race with virtually zero political name recognition. The late Sen. Greg Evers won about 22 percent of non-Gaetz voters. And another 21 percent was divided among four other candidates.
With Gaetz winning just about 36 percent of Republican voters in 2016, Dosev sees plenty of people who will vote for him this time around and correct what he describes as a mistake of sending Gaetz to Washington.
“I can make you this promise,” Dosev says, “I will never invite a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union.”
“You know what the most dangerous place in Washington is right now? Between Gaetz and a television camera!” Dosev quips, referring to Gaetz’s oft-recurring appearances on cable news. “I’m just out there talking to people and a lot of them feel like we’ve had it with this kid. We can do better.”
Taking on an incumbent is generally a tough task. Especially an incumbent like Gaetz who has gained national name-recognition and who enjoys the support of some of the most prominent money men and political backers in Pensacola.
But as a Marine with a roster of prominent local backers such as Col. Christopher “Caveman” Holzworth, Adm. Unruh and Gen. Pitman, Dosev believes his supporters are an indication that when it comes to authentic service and Republican values, he is everything that Gaetz claims to be.
Military loyalty, duty and service? Dosev has actually lived it. Family values? Ask his wife and eight kids. Economic experience? He’s a successful private sector business owner. Ambition and personal responsibility? He grew up a poor kid in Chicago. Faith? He’s a God-fearing Catholic who, unlike Gaetz, knows exactly what the “Immaculate Conception” is.
Look, I’m just the picture-drawing putz often accused of being a liberal, socialist, leftist, commie, pinko with a birth certificate from the USSR. Or something like that.
But I listen to enough daily Limbaugh to know that when it comes to so-called conservative values — actual, walk-the-walk conservative values — it’s tough to argue that a guy like Dosev doesn’t have the stuff that Northwest Florida Republicans claim to want in a leader.
And besides, he promises not to bring a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union. Bonus!
Dosev has a couple weeks left to qualify by petition, so stay tuned. If he does, then the 2018 GOP primary in Florida’s First Congressional District could be a heck of a fun fight worth watching.
Way more entertaining than staring at sheep.