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September 19, 2014

Posts in "Fla.-19"

June 24, 2014

Curt Clawson Wins Special Election to Succeed Trey Radel in Florida

Curt Clawson Wins Special Election to Succeed Trey Radel in Florida

Trey Radel resigned in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican businessman Curt Clawson won the special election Tuesday to replace former Rep. Trey Radel in Florida’s 19th District — an outcome long expected in this heavily Republican district on the state’s Gulf Coast.

Clawson defeated Democrat April Freeman, 67 percent to 30 percent, with 1 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. He is expected to be sworn in later this week. Full story

April 22, 2014

Self-Funding Republican Wins Primary in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Businessman Curt Clawson won the Republican nomination Tuesday night in the Florida special-election race to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., and he is now likely to be the district’s next member of Congress.

Clawson won with 38 percent of the vote, with 95 percent of precincts reporting at the time the Associated Press called the race. Finishing behind him were state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto with 26 percent and state Rep. Paige Kreegel with 25 percent.

He will now face Democrat April Freeman in the June 24 special, where Clawson is heavily favored. Full story

Front-runner Emerges in GOP Special Election for Trey Radel Seat

Front runner Emerges in GOP Special Election for Trey Radel Seat

Radel pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in November. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Republicans head to the polls for a special election Tuesday to pick a nominee to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, who exited Congress earlier this year following his arrest for cocaine possession that culminated in a national scandal for Republicans.

The 19th District marks safe GOP territory, so whomever wins Tuesday’s primary will likely become the next member of Congress after the June 24 special election. Polling results — public and internal — have varied for the GOP contest.

But many Florida Republicans wager that a self-funding businessman, Curt Clawson, boasts an advantage over his top two primary rivals, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel. Full story

April 21, 2014

Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year, prompting a special election for his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans have spent millions ahead of Tuesday’s special primary to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. — and the 19th District television airwaves show it.

Three of Radel’s potential successors boast at least $1 million in airtime behind each of their efforts — both from their own campaigns and outside groups boosting them. It’s a staggering number for an otherwise under-the-radar primary in a special election.

The spending leader is businessman Curt Clawson, who has loaned $2.65 million of his own funds to his campaign, according to his most recent campaign fundraising report. But outside groups have helped two other GOP candidates, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, stay in the game.

Whomever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday is all but certain to carry the seat in the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Here’s a look at how much campaigns and outside groups have spent on television in the race, according to two GOP media buying sources monitoring the race. Numbers are approximated. Full story

April 14, 2014

Rand Paul Endorses in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Rand Paul Endorses in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has endorsed in another GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed Republican businessman Curt Clawson in the upcoming special election for a House seat in Florida.

Clawson, who has loaned his campaign more than $2.6 million and released a TV ad Monday, is running in the highly competitive April 22 primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. His chief rivals are state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

“Washington is desperate for outside leadership, Curt Clawson is an outsider who will bring refreshing ideas to the halls of Congress,” Paul said in a statement. “I urge the voters of Florida’s 19th Congressional District to send Curt to Washington.” Full story

GOP Candidate’s Response to Attacks? Silence and Ocean Waves

In the final week before a special primary in Florida, businessman Curt Clawson has a message for his opponents: silence.

Clawson, who is running in the GOP primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., has released a new television spot featuring a silent shot of the ocean’s waves rolling up over the shore. Without a narrator, title cards over the sea state the ad is a 30-second respite from negative “attacks” from his GOP opponents, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

Full story

April 8, 2014

House Republican Women Endorse in Florida Special Primary

House Republican Women Endorse in Florida Special Primary

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., endorsed a candidate in the Florida special. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The two women leading the effort to support female candidates in Republican primaries endorsed Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto in the special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.

Republican Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri and Diane Black of Tennessee both used the word “trust” in their statements about Benacquisto, who faces businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 special primary.

“The people of the 19th District have lost faith in their elected officials. And the only candidate that can restore the sacred foundation of trust and integrity is Lizbeth Benacquisto,” Wagner said. “I am proud to endorse Lizbeth because she is the only conservative in this race that will get the job done.” Full story

April 1, 2014

Primary for Trey Radel’s Seat Escalates on TV Airwaves

Primary for Trey Radels Seat Escalates on TV Airwaves

Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the special election to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., former state Rep. Paige Kreegel has gone on the airwaves with a campaign ad intended to introduce him to GOP voters ahead of the April 22 primary.

Kreegel is running in a competitive special election to succeed Radel, who resigned from Congress in January after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. The GOP nominee is expected to win the June 24 special election. Full story

March 4, 2014

Connie Mack Endorses in Special Election for Radel’s Seat

Connie Mack Endorses in Special Election for Radels Seat

Mack has endorsed Clawson in the race for Radel's seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Connie Mack endorsed businessman Curt Clawson, a fellow Republican, in the upcoming special election for the seat Mack held until 2012.

In backing Clawson in Florida’s 19th District, Mack cited the candidate’s endorsement of the former congressman’s “Penny Plan,” a proposal to reduce the federal budget by 1 percent every year.

“Simply put, I am concerned that most politicians don’t have the strength of their resolve in order to make these tough choices,” Mack said in a statement. “It will take an outsider to help us accomplish this goal and ultimately pass the Penny Plan. For these reasons, I endorse Curt Clawson for Congress and look forward to working with him to make the Penny Plan a reality.” Full story

February 3, 2014

Goss Out, Benacquisto Running For Radel Seat (Updated)

Updated 10:58 a.m.| Florida State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto will run for former Rep. Trey Radel’s seat in Congress, according to a Monday news release. On the same morning, her fellow Republican, Chauncey Goss, announced he will not run in the same race.

“I will respect the trust you place in me, and I will serve you with a dignity that reflects our shared commitment to getting Florida and our great nation back on the road to prosperity,” Benaquisto wrote in an email to supporters.

As for Goss, he ran against Radel in the 19th District’s 2012 primary and publicly said after Radel’s resignation that he was seriously considering another run. The son of former Rep. Porter Goss made his announcement in a Monday news release.

“After careful thought and discussion with my family, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate in this upcoming special election,” he said. “As a husband and a father, my responsibility to my family must at this time take priority over the level of commitment required to properly serve as our Representative in Congress.”

Businessman Curt Clawson and former Rep. Paige Kreegel are the most notable contenders for the seat at this point.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the special election dates on Friday. The primary, which will all-but-determine the next occupant of this safe Republican seat, will take place on April 22. The general election is June 24.

January 27, 2014

Republican Field for Radel’s Seat Expected to Grow (Updated) (Video)

An already brewing and nasty battle to oust an embattled Florida Republican escalated Monday when Rep. Trey Radel announced his resignation from Congress.

Now local GOP operatives only expect the field to grow with familiar faces — a couple of whom have run in Florida’s 19th district before.

Radel pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge last year and, until recently, insisted he would seek re-election. On Monday, he wrote in his letter of resignation that he could not “fully and effectively serve” in Congress anymore.

Under Florida election law, GOP Gov. Rick Scott is tasked with scheduling the special election to fill Radel’s seat. He had not made an announcement on timing as of Monday evening, but Florida Republicans speculate the special election could happen in the late spring or run concurrent with the regularly scheduled primary and general election later this year.

Full story

Connie Mack, Florida Republicans React to Radel Resignation (Updated)

Connie Mack, Florida Republicans React to Radel Resignation (Updated)

Mack is a former member of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:55 p.m. | Rep. Trey Radel’s former rivals and potential successors in Florida’s 19th District reacted Monday to his resignation from Congress.

“Trey’s decision to resign from Congress was undoubtedly very difficult, but it was the right decision,” former Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., said in a statement. “Trey’s been a friend for many years, and I just can’t imagine how difficult this situation has been for his entire family.” Full story

Trey Radel Submits Letter of Resignation (Updated)

Trey Radel Submits Letter of Resignation (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:32 a.m. | First-term Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., will resign from Congress at 6:30 p.m., according to his letter of resignation sent Monday to Speaker John. A. Boehner of Ohio.

In his letter, Radel says he cannot “effectively serve” anymore.

Radel was arrested in October for cocaine possession and later pleaded guilty to that charge. He would have faced several primary challengers if he sought re-election.

“Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences,” he wrote in his letter to Boehner. “While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I call home, Southwest Florida.”

Full story

January 22, 2014

In Radel District, Florida Republicans Demand Super PAC Remove Ad

In Radel District, Florida Republicans Demand Super PAC Remove Ad

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican Party of Florida has demanded a local television affiliate cease airing a spot from a GOP super PAC, according to a letter obtained by CQ Roll Call.

At issue is an ad backed by supporters of former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, a candidate who is challenging Rep. Trey Radel in the GOP primary for Florida’s 19th District. Radel faces an increasingly competitive nomination fight in this safe Republican district, thanks to his recent legal issues. Radel pleaded guilty last year to cocaine possession.

But Radel is not the subject of the ad. Full story

January 7, 2014

Republicans Gear Up to Challenge Trey Radel in Primary

Republicans Gear Up to Challenge Trey Radel in Primary

Radel pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Republicans are gearing up for challenges against Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., who pleaded guilty in November for cocaine possession.

Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel officially announced his campaign on Tuesday for the 19th District, and another potential candidate, state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, signaled she might also test the waters.

Benacquisto is airing a biographical television ad unusually early for her uncompetitive state House re-election bid, according to the local NBC affiliate. Benacquisto had not filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, according to online records. Full story

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