| Mike Horner|
Real estate appraiser
| Greg Steube|
| August 12, 1981 (age 34)
Gainesville, Florida (1981-08-12) |
Edison College (A.A.)
Florida Gulf Coast University (B.A.)
Dreams and Dust, What Cowboys Do - EP
Josh Grider, Zane Williams, Wade Bowen, Curtis Grimes, Roger Creager
Matt Caldwell Wikipedia
Matthew H. "Matt" Caldwell (born August 12, 1981) is a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 79th District, which includes northern Lee County, stretching from Lehigh Acres to Palmona Park, since 2012, previously representing the 73rd District from 2010 to 2012.
Caldwell was born in Gainesville and attended Florida Gulf Coast University, from which he received a degree in history in 2004, and he began working as a real estate appraiser. In 2008, when Democratic State Senator Dave Aronberg ran for re-election in the 27th District, which sprawled from West Palm Beach to Cape Coral and included parts of Charlotte County, Glades County, Lee County, and Palm Beach County, Caldwell ran against him. He won the Republican primary entirely uncontested and advanced to the general election. Aronberg was endorsed for re-election by the Sun-Sentinel, which praised him for his accomplishments in the legislature, and criticized Caldwell for his "inexperience as an elected official." In the end, Caldwell did not prove to be a major challenge to Aronberg's re-election, and lost, winning only 39% of the vote to Aronberg's 59% and Green Party candidate Aniana Robas's 2%.
When incumbent State Representative Nick Thompson opted to run for a position as a Circuit Judge on the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida rather than seek re-election, Caldwell ran to succeed him in the 73rd District, based in northern Lee County, including Fort Myers and stretching from Suncoast Estates to Gateway. He faced Jason Moon, John Schultz, and Deanna Casalino in the Republican primary. Caldwell was able to narrowly defeat his opponents to win his party's nomination, receiving 35% of the vote to Moon's 29%, Schultz's 27%, and Casalino's 8%, and he advanced to the general election, where he was opposed by Democratic nominee Cole Peacock and Tea Party candidate Pantoja Rodriguez in the general election. During the campaign, Caldwell campaigned on improving the region's economy by "bringing back freight rail service" so that the industrial base of the region can grow. "We've got freight rail lines running through the county, but they are very under-utilized. The fact is that there are other areas of the state that have been very successful with this and as a result have a lower unemployment rate." Despite the fact that the Marco Island Sun Times endorsed Peacock, they praised Caldwell for having a "valuable" perspective and a respectable "record of local service." In the end, Caldwell defeated both of his opponents, winning 59% of the vote to Peacock's 38% and Rodriguez's 3%.
When state legislative districts were redrawn in 2012, Caldwell was moved into the 79th District, which retained most of the territory that he had previously represented in the 73rd District. In the Republican primary, he was opposed by Jon Larsen Shudlick, whom he was able to defeat in a landslide, winning renomination with 86% of the vote. He was unopposed in the general election and won his second term in the legislature uncontested.