Sarasota resident Montavon serving as president of Sarasota County Democratic Party’s Hispanic Caucus
This week, Sarasota resident Matthew Montavon, a Democrat, announced he is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota in the 2024 race for Florida’s 17th Congressional District.
The district covers Sarasota and Charlotte counties, as well as North Fort Myers in Lee County, a news release notes.
“I am committed to giving the people of this district the representation they deserve by getting back to common sense politics and finding common ground on issues that really matter to them,” Montavon said in the release.
“Steube on the other hand has voted against every piece of bipartisan economic legislation passed by the current and previous Congress,” Montavon continued. “To date, that legislation has brought the people of the 17th District $361.5 million in infrastructure, environmental and other benefits and thousands of new jobs without Steube’s support.” Montavon added.
“In contrast,” the news release says, “Montavon will work tirelessly to grow our economy and protect our democracy and institutions, including our right to access the vote. He’ll fight for women’s reproductive freedom and ending the scourge of gun violence. Montavon believes Americans have a right to health care and a clean, sustainable environment,” the release notes.
Montavon added, “People in this district are tired of Republican chaos and dysfunction in Congress.” For example, he pointed out, “We are still waiting for tax relief from Hurricane Ian.”
Montavon filed for the seat on Oct. 23, Florida Elections Commission records show.
He joins Democrats Manny Lopez of Nokomis — who filed for the race on Nov. 7 — and Andrea Doria Kale of North Port, who filed on Oct. 9 — in seeking to defeat Steube, who first was elected to Congress in 2018.
Montavon is the president of the Sarasota County Democratic Party’s Hispanic Caucus, his release notes. A “native of South Bend, Ind., where his father was a professor at the University of Notre Dame before joining the U.S. Foreign Service and taking the family to Ecuador, Brazil and Guatemala,” the release adds, Montavon is one of nine children. “He served for two years with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica and then worked with the Illinois Migrant Council, providing support to migrant agriculture workers and disadvantaged individuals and families. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University (SPEA-Bloomington),” the release points out.
Montavon worked for several years in urban and regional planning and fiscal management for local, regional and national organizations in West Virginia, Virginia and Washington D.C., the release adds. In 1991, he joined the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and moved to Rome, where he served at senior levels until his retirement in 2017.
Montavon is a widower with two adult children, and he is fluent in Spanish and Italian, the release notes.
Those interested in learning more about Matthew Montavon and getting involved in his campaign are encouraged to go to Montavon4Congress.com, the release says.
Steube served for two years in the Florida Senate and six years in the Florida House before winning his first term in Congress, taking 68% of the vote in the 2018 race, his Wikipedia page says. Prior to the start of his political career, he served from 2004 to 2008 as an Airborne Infantry officer and as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) officer, his congressional website notes.
Democrat Lopez, a Realtor, lost a 2016 bid to win the District 74 seat in the Florida House, Ballotpedia points out. He captured only 37.35% of the vote, with Republican Julio Gonzalez prevailing.
Writing for Florida Politics, reporter Jacob Ogles pointed out that Kale served as the IT director and deputy operations manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign in Florida.” Kale has put her focus on challenging Steube over a “woman’s right to choose,” the Florida Politics article noted.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, The Sarasota News Leader learned from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) website, Steube raised a total of $545,889.58. Of those funds, $227,522.15 came in the form of individual contributions, the FEC website says.
During the same period, the FEC records show, his campaign disbursements totaled $397,808.28.
In addition, as of Sept. 30, the FEC notes, Steube had $1,115,494.28 in cash on hand.