A Republican businessman who’s critical of President Donald Trump and GOP congressional leadership has launched a campaign in the Democratic-leaning district represented by U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and says he has put $250,000 of his own money behind the effort.
Kurt Jetta of Delray Beach filed papers last week to run in 2018 for Frankel’s District 21 seat, where Democrats have a 44 percent-26.4 percent registration advantage over Republicans.
Jetta, 56, is founder and CEO of TABS Analytics, a Connecticut-based data firm that advises companies who sell packaged retail goods. He moved to Palm Beach County in 2013.
Jetta contributed to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign and gave $500 to the “Free the Delegates” effort to deny Trump the 2016 Republican nomination just before the GOP convention. Jetta later gave $250 to the “Never Trump” presidential campaign of independent Evan McMullin.
“I just really got tired of sitting on the sidelines,” Jetta said of his decision to run. “I see a White House where there’s lots of erratic tweets and behaviors as well as a Congress that has failed to establish an equal voice. I see the deterioration of the Republican Party brand overall.”
Jetta said he wants more federal focus on the opioid crisis. He faulted Frankel for not listing opioids among 13 issues highlighted on her congressional website.
Jetta said he believes he can work with Democrats on issues such as immigration (“I don’t support a lot of the stringent proposals that are being put forward by the White House.”) and Everglades protection. Jetta, who has a Ph.D in economics, says he harbors “skepticism and outright hostility to regulation and government intervention” and specifically opposes price supports and other government help to the sugar industry.