Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Posts in "Fla.-19"

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

November 26, 2013

Florida GOP Honcho Calls on Trey Radel to Resign

Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry on Monday called for Rep. Trey Radel to resign, marking the highest-ranking local GOP official yet to push for the embattled Republican congressman to step down.

“The people of Florida’s 19th Congressional District need a Congressman who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwest Florida,” Curry said in a statement. “Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family.” Full story

November 21, 2013

Trey Radel’s Would-Be Primary Challengers

Trey Radels Would Be Primary Challengers

Radel might face a primary challenge in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Republicans have started sizing up the political prospects of freshman Rep. Trey Radel, who said he will not resign after pleading guilty for a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession.

Several potential primary challengers have emerged in Florida’s 19th District — which includes Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Naples — in the last couple days: Full story

November 19, 2013

Radel in Possible Primary Peril

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., said that he is ready “to face the consequences” of his cocaine possession charge, and some of them might be political.

Democrats concede his is a Safe Republican seat. So if his legal problems become fodder in his bid for a second term, it will likely be litigated in the primary.

Full story

March 5, 2013

DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program

DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program

Israel leads the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel named 26 of his colleagues to the Frontline program, a committee program designed to protect their most vulnerable incumbents.

“We call this program Frontline for a reason – these Members are on the vanguard of protecting and expanding the middle class,” Israel said in a written statement released Tuesday morning.

“While the 2014 campaign will be dominated by a strong offense taking on the Tea Party Republican Congress, our success begins with our Members,” added Israel, a Democrat from New York. “These battle-tested men and women have proven time and again that they can win because no one better reflects the values of their districts.”

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. will spearhead the program as its chairman. He’s a Frontline alumnus as recently as the 2012 cycle.

Otherwise, the list includes several freshman members and Blue Dog Democrats:

Full story

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