CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A crowded list of candidates is now running for Congressman Francis Rooney’s seat.
Seven Republicans are battling it out in next year’s primary.
Former Minnesota State Representative Dan Severson, who now lives in Cape Coral, is running.
Severson is taking aim at political rival Dane Eagle, who was first to jump into the race, accusing him of violating the second amendment when he voted in favor of raising the age to buy a gun to 21 years old.
Severson claims that act alone disqualifies Eagle to run on the GOP ticket despite the fact most republican leaders are backing him.
“To me, Dane is a flawed candidate. I think he has some major issues. Not the least of which is his Parkland Shooting Bill,” Severson said.
The vote came after a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Following the massacre anger from Parkland students and survivors and their families intensified on what many called the inaction on the Republican-controlled legislature to do anything to curb gun violence.
Eagle and other republicans voted to raise the age to buy a gun to 21 and the bill was signed into law by former Governor Rick Scott. An idea embraced by President Donald Trump until he tweeted there was not much public support for it.
“Dane is one of the instigators in this undermining our constitution on the second amendment issues,” Severson said.
When asked about the fact that more voters want some form of gun control Severson said he doesn’t believe that calling it rhetoric.
“As I have been going around this district and talking to people about this issue when I tell them about the Parkland bill was passed the first thing they do is look down in shame,” he said.
Continuing that is why he is running for the seat.
“They’ve been sorely let down by previous congressmen here,” Severson said.
When asked if he was referring specifically to Congressman Rooney who let voters down he said yes.
“He would have been better serviced if he had listened to the people of his district,” Severson said.
He was referring in part to Rooney’s decision not to rule out impeaching the president.
“I think it’s a sham. I think it’s a huge misdeed to the people of this country,” he said regarding the impeachment efforts.
Severson like all of the GOP candidates running for the office promised to support Trump if he’s elected.
“I think president trump has been an icon for the Republican Party,” He said.
When asked if there is anything the president could do that he wouldn’t agree with Severson said infringe on the constitution.
“The only thing I could not stand with the president on is if he infringed on the constitution,” He said.
Candidate Ford O’Connell told NBC2 Wednesday that he predicted the GOP race would be an “epic dog fight” and Severson agreed that is likely.
“I’m prepared. I’ve been through it. Twenty-two years as a Navy Top Gun Fighter Pilot, I’ve been in the dog fights,” he said.
The last time Severson ran for office He lost the Minnesota Secretary of State race by just one percent to a Democrat.
Severson is one of seven people vying for Rooney’s seat.
There are two Democrats in the race.