Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

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.

Candidate Campaign Spending on TV: 

Benacquisto campaign: $725,000

Clawson campaign: $1.5-$1.65 million

Kreegel campaign: $200,000-$210,000

Outside Groups and Super PACs on TV:

Values Are Vital, a pro-Kreegel super PAC: $790,000-$824,000

A Brighter Future, a pro-Kreegel Super PAC: $50,00-$65,000

Liberty & Leadership: a pro-Benacquisto super PAC: $534,000-$565,000

Tea Party Express, supporting Clawson: $90,000-$100,000

TV totals:

Clawson and his supporters: $1.75 million

Benacquisto and her supporters: $1.3 million

Kreegel and his supporters:  $1.1 million

  • rsubber

    So, in Florida’s 19th District, over $4 million has been spent by one party for TV ads in the primary contest for a “safe” seat….and three-quarters of that money has come from outside groups and one very wealthy candidate.
    I wonder how much cash the voters of the 19th District have ponied up to support the candidate of their choice?
    I wonder just who exactly this district is “safe” for?
    Some powerful and wealthy partisan folks are going to buy this congressional seat.
    More on my blogs:

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    While this news might be of interest to many, the REAL news that’s not discussed lately, is the news about the more than two million unemployed workers, and their families, who have without their benefits since late December. These families have been treated terribly by the Republican party, and left hung out to dry, without any means of support. These Americans are not “Lazy”, or “unwilling” to seek employment. Most of them are “older workers” who worked for years paying into the system, in the hopes that help would be there for them, if they should need it. Unfortunately, after 26 weeks of benefits, they were abruptly shut off from that support. These workers have been seeking employment in one of the worse recessions in many years. Many companies are not willing to hire them, due to their age, and the higher insurance risk that might cost their bottom line. While the Republicans continue to play “party politics”, and continue using these workers as bargaining chips, and for political leverage, these families are facing evictions, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness. This is REAL. These things are HAPPENING right now. The Republicans claim to be concerned about “budgetary issues” and “fiscal responsibility”, well at the same time supporting an aid package for the Ukraine worth BILLIONS of tax payer’s dollars. Why are they not “concern” or compassionate regarding their own people here in this country? Where’s their so called “family value system”? The Republicans have shown their contempt for the poor and disadvantaged in our country, and that they would win at any cost to make President Obama fail in the public’s eyes. This is their sole reason for being. Please SUPPORT these families. Call or write to your elected officials and demand that they ACT on behalf of these unemployed workers. DEMAND that they PASS the extension bill IMMEDIATELY in the senate

  • Hugh Jass

    Hussein Obama is a delusional marxist who intentionally causes chaos to advance his own destructive agenda.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...