Matt Gaetz: Surprising Fast Facts | Road To The Election

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Matt Gaetz is the Republican Congressman for Florida’s 1st congressional district since 2017. He is a member of the Freedom Caucus and a strong advocate of President Trump.

Here are some more facts about Matt Gaetz that may surprise you:

1. His Grandfather Died At The North Dakota State Convention

This tragic story serves to tell how deeply ingrained politics is in the Gaetz family. 

Matt Gaetz’s grandfather, Stanley Jerome Gaetz, was a railroader and Republican politician from North Dakota. He held positions in the North Dakota Senate and served as Rugby’s mayor. 

On April 9, 1964, after giving a speech supporting Barry Goldwater at the North Dakota State Convention, Jerry Gaetz descended from the stage and was shaking hands when he collapsed and died of a heart attack. 


Mayor Jerry Gaetz of Rugby, North Dakota in 1960. Public Domain

His son, Don Gaetz (Matt Gaetz’s father), who was 16 years old at the time, had played hooky from school and watched the entire episode unfold on TV

Years later, Don followed his dad into politics, holding a position in the Florida State Senate from 2006 to 2016, representing areas of Northwest Florida and serving as Senate president from 2012 to 2014. Don Gaetz is currently a candidate for the 1st Senate district in the upcoming 2024 election.


Official portrait of Florida State Senator Don Gaetz (FL-4.) Public Domain

2. He Grew Up In “The Truman Show” House

As a boy, Gaetz was thrust into the television spotlight because of his famous father and grandfather. 

So it may seem fitting that he grew up on the set of a movie about a man who is always on TV. 

According to The Washington Post, Gaetz grew up in Seaside, Florida, in the House where the movie, “The Truman Show,” was filmed. 

His parents still apparently live there. A sign on their white picket fence says, “THE TRUMAN HOUSE.”


Jakesilb14, CC BY-SA 4.0 Gaetz House from The Truman Show Film, via Wikimedia Commons

3. He Got “Luckey” In Love

In August 2021, Matt Gaetz eloped to Catalina Island with his girlfriend, Ginger Luckey, and married her in a small ceremony of around 40 people. 

Gaetz posted a picture of their wedding day with the caption, “I love my wife!”

Matt and Ginger met at a party for Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, according to The Daily Mail. 

Ginger Luckey, works for a company focused on reducing food waste using natural materials.

Trump was part of their engagement, too, as Gaetz proposed to Ginger at a fancy Trump fundraiser in his Mar-a-Lago club. 

Ginger’s response to “Will you marry me?” was “Duh!”

“It didn’t come as a surprise, I had sort of seen it coming,” she said. 

If the name “Luckey” sounds familiar, you’ve probably heard of Ginger’s brother Palmer Luckey, who is known for founding Oculus VR and revolutionizing virtual reality technology with the Oculus Rift. 

A gifted child, Palmer started building VR headsets and eventually launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $2.4 million, propelling Oculus VR.

His remarkable success continued, leading to Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014.  

Now at 30 years old, Palmer Luckey has amassed a net worth of $1.4 billion, securing a spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs under 40.


Palmer Luckey: Palmertech, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. He Raised His Ex-Girlfriend’s Brother As a Son

In a 2018 article, People Magazine shared the story of how Matt Gaetz met Nestor Galban, a young boy from Cuba, whom he now calls his son. 

Nestor was 12 at the time, and his mother had recently passed away from breast cancer. Gaetz was dating Nestor’s older sister, and when Nestor moved to the U.S., Gaetz opened his home to him, describing it as a “modern family.”

Though not formally adopted, Gaetz emphasized that Nestor is his son in every way that matters to them, focusing on their deep bond rather than paperwork. 

Gaetz decided to share this relationship publicly after an argument with Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond, during which Richmond questioned Gaetz’s understanding of racial issues. 

Gaetz said he did not share his relationship with Nestor initially to keep him out of the spotlight but that family members, friends, church members and other parents at Nestor’s school knew Gaetz was raising Nestor as his son, 

“Just imagine: You’re 12 years old, your mom has just died, you’re learning English as you’re trying to get your footing in school. It just wasn’t the right time in middle school and high school to subject him to politics,” Gaetz said.

Nestor became a US citizen in 2020 and went on to join the military.

He is referenced on Gaetz’s Congressional website as Gaetz’s “son.”

5. He Was Responsible For Ousting The Speaker Of The House 

In October, Matt Gaetz led a historic charge to unseat Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his powerful position in the House of Representatives. 

This was an unprecedented move, marking the first time in history that the House removed its own leader.

Although Gaetz had several issues with McCarthy, including his lack of urgency in subpoenaing President Joe Biden’s son about issues relating to the first family’s finances, the final straw was McCarthy’s decision to work across the aisle, joining forces with Democrats to pass a crucial spending bill. 

The bill exceeded previously set spending limits. 

Gaetz saw McCarthy’s reliance on Democratic votes as a clear deviation from their initial understanding and a breach of trust. Their initial agreement had been to adhere to certain spending limitations, and McCarthy’s departure from this was seen as a betrayal of their shared conservative principles.

 Gaetz felt compelled to rally fellow Republicans and challenge McCarthy’s position as Speaker.

In the end, eight Republicans, along with the majority of Democrats, voted to remove McCarthy from his role as Speaker.

The historic move sent shockwaves through the political landscape, leaving the House in a leadership vacuum and putting a halt to essential legislative processes. 

The aftermath of this extraordinary event has ushered in a period of uncertainty and reshuffling within the House, shaping the trajectory of American politics in unforeseen ways.

As of the writing of this article, the position of House Speaker is still vacant. 

Rachel Emmanuel

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