Former U.S. Army Green Beret and military contractor Jerry Torres shocked Florida’s political class several weeks ago when he announced this run for Congress in Florida’s new 15th congressional district with a whopping $5-15million war chest.
Now the former special operator told The Floridian in an exclusive interview that he has decided to pull out of the Republican primary race in District 15 and run in Florida’s 14th congressional district against incumbent Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor.
Torres told The Floridian that he decided to run in FL CD 14 because he felt the district was “going to stay Republican” and that because of the “good talent” in that race, that newly-drawn district would be in “good hands.”
Torres then stated, “The better approach is to take a look at 14 or even other ones close in the area and look to flipping them from Democrat to Republican.”
In addition, Torres said that he was “very comfortable” with the move, citing that he was very familiar with the district because of the time he had spent at MacDill AFB when was still in the U.S. Army.
Not only does Torres feel comfortable about his move, but he believes “it was a great move” for him.
When asked if moving districts would change his campaign strategy of injecting millions of dollars into the race, Torres said,” It doesn’t change,” adding that he “committed 5” and would “go to 15” if he needed to.
Torres also believes that a race against Rep. Castor “could be more expensive and a little bit more tense of a battle” and is “committed to trying to convert it into a Republican seat.”
Rep. Castor is arguably one of the loudest proponents of Climate Change and a supporter of the Green New Deal.
Torres, who says he has a degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography, appears to be targeting Castor’s greatest strength, and questions the rate of climate change that has been reported.
“We know the climate is not changing as rapidly as what's out there in the press,” said Torres, who argues that the rate of climate change is less than “one percent in our lifetime.”
“I’m all for climate management, good environmental management, but not at the cost of decimating communities,” concluded Torres.
With Torres exiting the crowded race in District 15, the field shrinks significantly as former Congressman Dennis Ross announced that he would be dropping out of the race.
To date, Rep. Castor has never had to face a Republican opponent with such deep pockets. Torres' millions, if he spend them, could and should put Castor's seat in play considering the GOP "Red Wave" that is expected this fall.
Now, former Green Beret Jarrid Collins, State Senator Kelli Stargel, former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, and Rep. Jackie Toledo, will face off in the August 23 primary election.