Thousands of Navarre residents were out and about last weekend, enjoying a break in cold weather that had been crippling the area earlier in the week.
Political candidates Matt Gaetz and Craig Barker also took advantage of the warmer temperatures, making their way through Navarre knocking on doors and partaking in the Mardi Gras parade.
Gaetz and Barker, both Republicans, are running for the Florida House of Representatives’ District 4 seat currently occupied by Ray Sansom. This is the first run for public office for Gaetz, 27, a Fort Walton Beach attorney. Barker, an engineer, has been serving as the mayor of the City of Destin since 2002. That position, though elected, is unpaid.
“I’m a career volunteer,” said Barker, who waved and tossed beads from his float in the Navarre Krewe of Jesters’ Mardi Gras parade Saturday. “I think that’s demonstrative that I do it for the right reasons and I think that would be in my favor.”
On both Saturday and Sunday, Gaetz and his father, Florida Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, went knocking on doors in Holley by the Sea and the Turkey Bluff area of Navarre.
“It’s kind of a family tradition,” the younger Gaetz said. “I’ve been knocking on doors with my father since I was 12. And I really think it’s great he’s been able to help me do the same with my campaign.”
Bill Garvie, Jerry Melvin and Kabe Woods are also candidates vying for Sansom’s seat.The primary election, which will determine the Republican party candidate, is scheduled for Aug. 24. The deadline for additional candidates to file is July 26.