Javier Manjarres, the political consultant behind the conservative Shark Tank blog, is running for Congress against Parkland-area Rep. Ted Deutch.
Manjarres, whose interest in running against Deutch has been known for months, announced his candidacy Tuesday morning. In a press release touting his blue-collar background and “size 11 Ariat boots,” he criticized Deutch’s politics and accused him of trying to capitalize on February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, is a reminder that shameful extremists like Deutch will go as far as to lie in their ongoing efforts of exploiting victims of the shooting for political expediency and gain,” Manjarres, who’s accused Deutch of lying on Twitter about living in Parkland, said in a statement.
“With my size 11 Ariat boots firmly affixed, I enter this race with the intention of stomping out the un-American foreign and domestic policies that my opponent ‘Terrified Ted’ Deutch continues to support. I am going to eat his lunch and feed him his votes.”
Manjarres, the 45-year-old son of Colombian immigrants, likely faces an uphill fight against Deutch. The incumbent easily won reelection in 2016 to represent Florida’s 22nd congressional district, which covers north and coastal Broward and southern Palm Beach County.
But the contest should make for an interesting contrast: Deutch, D-Boca Raton, has assumed a role as a shepherd for some Parkland students in Washington as they lobby for gun control measures. Manjarres, meanwhile, has criticized Parkland’s more prominent teen activists. He was also arrested in 2016 and accused of attempted murder — but not prosecuted — after he was accused of firing a gun at a truck driven by the boyfriend of his sister.
Manjarres is the third Republican to announce his intention to run for the party’s nomination in the 22nd district, but is the first to do so with resources to support a campaign. He has been supported by the America First Agenda Super PAC, which at the start of the year had raised $316,000 and spent $275,000, according to federal filings.