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

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.

Clawson’s cash-flush campaign has framed his bid as that of a newcomer aligned with the tea party. Even Clawson’s Twitter handle (@ClawsonOutsider) sought to present him as the political outsider in the race.

Front runner Emerges in GOP Special Election for Trey Radel Seat“Everyone in Florida with a title backed Senate Majority Leader Benacquisto, and the tea party groups backed Clawson,” said Clawson’s general consultant, John Yob, in a Monday phone interview. “Therefore, it’s a very good indicator of the tea party and establishment divide play out across the country.”

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