Armando Gutierrez Jr., a 28-year-old real estate developer, Republican party fundraiser, and, until recently, Miami resident, says he's going to challenge one of his party's biggest targets: U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando.
Gutierrez said he has already lined up endorsements from three central Florida elected officials: U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Chris Dorworth, and Rep. Bryan Nelson.
Gutierrez is a member of the Republican National Committee's Young Eagles, a group of 35-and-under donors. He's raised money for U.S. Reps. Adam Putnam, Vern Buchanan and Tom Rooney, among others.
Gutierrez says he's been doing business in central Florida for six years and started renting in downtown Orlando earlier this year. State law does not require candidates running for Congress to live in the district.
"The most important thing is that I've been in Florida for 28 years, a lot longer than Alan Grayson has,'' said Gutierrez, whose father is a well-known political consultant in Miami. "I know more about central Florida than he does. How much has he invested in central Florida?''
Gutierrez said he owns seven commercial and retail properties in the Lakeland area.