Gaetz says he's not running for Alabama Senate seat against Doug Jones

Florida Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse approves Democrat-backed bill ending mandatory arbitration Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing State probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws MORE (R) said Friday he is not running for the Senate in Alabama after The Hill reported Thursday that the Trump loyalist was considering a 2020 campaign against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).

The Pensacola News Journal reached out to Gaetz Friday about the story inquiring if he was considering the Senate bid, to which Gaetz responded “no.”

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Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Sources close to Gaetz had told The Hill the Florida Republican is being encouraged by “people in [President] Trump’s orbit” to challenge Jones for what is seen as one of the most competitive Senate seats of the 2020 cycle.

“He’s talking about running for Senate in Alabama. They have a one-day residency requirement there,” said one GOP lawmaker who knows Gaetz well. “POTUS [President of the United States] would probably endorse him.”

Gaetz told The Hill that he had been approached about Alabama’s Senate race, but that he would most likely be running for reelection in his Florida district. 

“I had a few people make mention to me that Alabama has a very short residency requirement, but it’s not something I’ve looked at myself,” he said. “I think that my most likely path would be to seek reelection in the House.” 

Gaetz also told the blog FloridaPolitics.com that he “may have mentioned” the idea of running in Alabama to some people “in passing.”

Republicans widely view Jones’s seat as their top pickup opportunity in a Senate map that provides the party few chances to go on offense. Jones narrowly beat out Republican Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreSen. Doug Jones launches reelection bid in Alabama Flake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona Omar shares anonymous death threat, speaks out against 'hate' and need for security MORE in a 2017 special election after several women accused Moore of making unwanted sexual advances toward them when they were minors and he was in his 30s.

Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped GOP Senate candidate 'pissed off' at Trump over health care for veterans MORE (R-Ala.) is already running to challenge Jones, and it's possible other GOP contenders may emerge.