A Republican source in Florida was even more blunt, telling us: "Gutierrez is young and talented, but he moved to the district specifically to run for this seat. While he has done well in fundraising so far, in the end we do not believe he is the candidate the majority of Republican voters will rally around."
I spoke to Gutierrez campaign adviser Bryan Stewart, a friend of Gutierrez's since their days in the College Republican, and he attested to his candidate's qualifications. "He was born and raised here in Florida. He did grow up in south Florida, but I would say that a lot of people who have come to Orlando and Central Florida are not from this area," said Stewart, who said he was himself born and raised in the area. He cited that many of the district's own recent Representatives -- including Alan Grayson and his Republican predecessors Ric Keller and Bill McCollum -- had originally come from elsewhere.
"I guess I like to emphasize this, being someone who was born and raised in the area, not only am I comfortable with Armando representing the area, but I know he has ties, and has been an active part of the business community and the political community in central Florida for years before he established his residency."
As to the criticism that Gutierrez hasn't had experience in state politics and public policy: "My response to that would be in addition to Armando's business career, either as a technology officer of a startup or in real estate and business development, Armando served as chairman of the College Republicans while in school, and he's been involved in a number of state and local races in Florida. So in a sense he's already been a part of public policy in Florida, just in a behind the scenes way."
Stewart said that Gutierrez doesn't need to have an advanced age and experience: "And quite frankly, given the direction the Republican Party has gone, I don't think that would be much of a credential."