Florida's 19th Congressional District special election, 2014

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Special Elections to the 113th Session of Congress, 2013-2014

U.S. Senate
HawaiiMassachusettsNew JerseyOklahomaSouth Carolina

U.S. House
Illinois' 2nd DistrictMissouri's 8th DistrictSouth Carolina's 1st DistrictAlabama's 1st DistrictMassachusetts' 5th DistrictLouisiana's 5th DistrictFlorida's 13th DistrictNorth Carolina's 12th DistrictFlorida's 19th District

Other 2013-2014 Election coverage
2014 Congressional Elections2014 U.S. Senate Elections
2014 U.S. House Elections
The 19th Congressional District of Florida held a special election for the U.S. House in 2014.

The special election was held to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Rep. Trey Radel (R).[1] Curt Clawson won the special election.

Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced on January 31, 2014, the dates for the election. The primary election was held on April 22, 2014, with the general election held on June 24, 2014.[2][3]

The special election had a projected cost of $1.5 million.[4]

Clawson will face re-election in 2014, with the primary on August 26, 2014, followed by the November general election.

Florida is one of 12 states to use a strictly closed primary process, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members.[5][6][7]

Florida's 19th Congressional District is solidly Republican.[8]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
February 19, 2014[9]
April 22, 2014
June 24, 2014[2]


General election

Democratic primary

Republican primary

Third party candidates

Did not qualify

Declined to run

Election results

General election

U.S. House, Florida District 19 General Special Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCurt Clawson 67% 66,887
     Democratic April Freeman 29.3% 29,294
     Libertarian Ray Netherwood 3.7% 3,724
     Write-in Timothy Rossano 0% 0
Total Votes 99,905
Source: Unoffocial Results via Associated Press

Republican primary

U.S. House, Florida District 19 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngCurt Clawson 38.3% 26,897
Lizbeth Benacquisto 25.7% 18,052
Paige Kreegel 25.3% 17,789
Michael Dreikorn 10.8% 7,564
Total Votes 70,302
Source: Official results via Florida Division of Elections[22]


Republican primary
Poll Lizbeth Benacquisto Curt ClawsonMichael DreikornPaige KreegelTimothy RossanoUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
April 14-16, 2014
St. Pete Polls
April 9, 2014
St. Pete Polls
March 3, 2014
AVERAGES 31.97% 28.93% 10.73% 15.6% 0.43% 12% +/-2.23 813.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Curt Clawson

  • Former 19th District candidate Byron Donalds (R) endorsed Curt Clawson on February 20, 2014.[23]
    • Donalds said, "I think he's the best candidate in the race. What we need in Washington are people who have outside experience, real leadership, and he provides that...I really did look at the field very strongly, and that's why I made the decision to endorse him."[23]
  • Former Rep. Connie Mack endorsed Clawson on March 4, 2014.[24]
    • “Sometimes it takes outsiders from outside the political process to step up and lead to change the direction of our country. Curt Clawson is a businessman who has experience in making tough decisions to cut spending and save jobs. There aren’t too may former CEOs of $2.2 billion companies with experience at that level who are willing to offer themselves as a candidate for Congress,” Mack said in a statement[24]
  • The Tea Party Express endorsed Clawson on March 19, 2014.[25][26]
    • "We are endorsing Curt for his many skills which we believe are exactly what the country needs to get back on track. The fact he is not a career politician is one of the reasons we believe he can bring clarity and solutions to troubled times. We appreciate the fact Mr. Clawson can utilize those proven skills, applying them to the “business” of Government," the group said in a statement.[26]
  • Rand Paul endorsed Clawson on April 14, 2014.[27]
    • “Washington is desperate for outside leadership, Curt Clawson is an outsider who will bring refreshing ideas to the halls of Congress. I urge the voters of Florida’s 19th Congressional District to send Curt to Washington,” Paul said in a statement.[28]
  • The Eagle Forum, a conservative group led by Phyllis Schlafly, endorsed Clawson on April 15, 2014.[27]
    • "Rarely do conservatives in Florida's Congressional District 19 have an opportunity to send a strong leader to Washington. With the United States having a less-than-bright financial future ahead of us, it's more important than ever to choose leaders that have a history of inspiring vision and decisive implementation. After vetting all of the candidates and weighing their past history with their goals and performance as leaders, Curt Clawson is the only candidate with true measurable, leadership experience combined with a well-thought-out, executable plan for our country. Curt's plan has the elements that conservatives have demanded on both the state and federal level for years, but have seen little action from our elected officials. It includes reforming our corporate tax code to make America competitive; restoring budget discipline; giving flexibility to states for Medicaid; reforming our burdensome regulatory processes; and repealing Obamacare," said Pat Andrews, who leads the Florida Eagle Forum.[27]

Lizbeth Benacquisto

  • Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Tom Rooney endorsed Lizbeth Benacquisto on March 10, 2014.[30]
    • “Washington is broken and this president has no interest in fixing it. Lizbeth’s fighting spirit and proven ability to get things done are just what we need to get things moving for hard-working Florida families, ” Diaz-Balart said.[30]
    • “Lizbeth is a proven and trusted leader. Washington desperately needs more people like her and I look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her to fight for the fiscal responsibility the people of Florida need and deserve,” said Rooney.[30]
  • Sarah Palin endorsed Benacquisto on March 26, 2014.[31][32]
    • "We have been lucky to visit southwest Florida on several occasions and know it is one of the warmest places in the country. The warmth comes not only from the sun, but also from the citizens. We met many dedicated patriots in Naples, Florida, on our recent book tour. They deserve better representation than what they have had recently. Lizbeth Benacquisto is the only proven conservative in the race. She served her constituents well and has never forgotten who put her in office – the people. Lizbeth will take these values to Washington to fight for us all," Palin wrote on Facebook.[31][33]
  • Ann Wagner endorsed Benacquisto on April 8, 2014.[35]
    • “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. I am proud to endorse Lizbeth because she is the only conservative in this race that will get the job done,” Wagner said.
  • Diane Black endorsed Benacquisto on April 8, 2014.[35]
    • “Lizbeth Benacquisto is the only trusted candidate in this race that will protect the values we hold so dear. Whether it’s defending the sanctity of life, repealing ObamaCare, or reducing our massive debt — I know Lizbeth will be fearless in that fight to protect the integrity of this great nation,” Black said in a statement.[35]

Paige Kreegel

  • Kreegel earned an “A” Rating from the Florida Right to Life in April 2014.[36]

Campaign contributions

Curt Clawson

Prior to the primary, Clawson spent $3.4 million of his own money on his campaign.[42]

Outside spending

The Values are Vital Super PAC was created at the end of 2013 to provide support for Paige Kreegel (R).[43]

The Liberty and Leadership Fund, formed in February 2014, was the second Super PAC to enter the race.[44] The group reported that it spent $60,000 to attack Republican candidate Curt Clawson.[44]

A third group, A Bright Future, emerged in April 2014, after organizational papers were filed on March 27, 2014.[45] The group ran an ad that praised Paige Kreegel and attacked the business record of Curt Clawson.[46]

Outside groups spent a total of $2.1 million prior to the primary election.[47][48]


Curt Clawson's 2014 Super Bowl ad, "3 point challenge."

Curt Clawson's February 2014 ad, "Curt Clawson Saved My Job."

Curt Clawson's April 2014 ad, "Quiet."

Paige Kreegel's first ad, released in April 2014, "Dr. Paige Kreegel for Congress."

Curt Clawson

Curt Clawson released an ad that ran for viewers in the Fort Myers area during the Super Bowl on February 2, 2014.[49] Clawson, a former college basketball player, said in the ad that he is challenging President Obama to a “three-point” contest because Obama has “been missing a lot of shots lately, and not just in basketball.”[49] The ad ran once during the pre-game, twice during the game and once during halftime.[49]

Clawson released his second ad on February 28, 2014, in an attempt to fend off an attack by Super PAC Liberty and Leadership Fund.[44] He also responded to the ad, "In basketball, the other team starts fouling when they get behind. In business, the competition re-markets their product when they see declines. In politics, the career politicians and their special interest friends launch negative attack ads when they are desperate.”[44]

Clawson third ad, released the week prior to the primary election, featured a silent shot of the ocean’s waves rolling up over the shore. Without a narrator, words over the sea stated the ad was a 30-second respite from negative “attacks” from his opponents, Lizbeth Benacquisto and Paige Kreegel.[50]

Paige Kreegel

Paige Kreegel released his first ad of the campaign on April 1, 2014. The ad was narrated by his wife, who praised her husband's career as a physician, including his work "on a SWAT team, a trauma doctor saving the lives of our servicemen."[51]

Outside groups

Super PAC Liberty and Leadership Fund's February 2014 ad, "Insider Curt Clawson."

Super PAC Liberty and Leadership Fund's April 2014 ad, "He Didn't Call Back."

Super PAC Liberty and Leadership Fund released an ad attacking Curt Clawson on February 27, 2014.[44] The ad began with headlines of Radel’s controversy with cocaine and a female narrator said, “Now Curt Clawson is playing games to hide what he’s done.”[44]

The group released another ad against Curt Clawson in April 2014. The ad claimed that Clawson's company allegedly “ignored safety hazards” that caused an explosion resulting in the death of an employee and suggested he knew of the problem and did nothing about it.[52]

A Bright Future, emerged in April 2014, after organizational papers were filed on March 27, 2014.[45] The group ran an ad that praised Paige Kreegel and attacked the business record of Curt Clawson. In the group's ad a narrator said, “Paige Kreegel has served his patients, his family and his community. Curt Clawson has only served himself."[46]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


See also: Florida's 19th Congressional District elections, 2012

The 19th District of Florida held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. Republican Trey Radel won the election in the district.[53]

U.S. House, Florida District 19 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTrey Radel 62% 189,833
     Democratic Jim Roach 35.8% 109,746
     Independent Brandon Smith 2.2% 6,637
Total Votes 306,216
Source: Florida Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


On November 2, 2010, Ted Deutch won to the United States House. He defeated Joe Budd (R) and Stan Smilan (I) in the general election.[54]

U.S. House, Florida District 19 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTed Deutch 62.6% 132,098
     Republican Joe Budd 37.3% 78,783
     Independent Stan Smilan 0.1% 228
Total Votes 211,109

See also

External links


  1. Politico, "Trey Radel to resign House seat," accessed January 27, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Miami Herald, "Special election scheduled to fill Radel's seat," accessed January 31, 2014 (dead link)
  3. National Review, "Rep. Trey Radel to Resign; Special Election Expected," accessed January 27, 2014
  4. NBC News, "Vacant congressional seat costly to Southwest Florida," accessed January 30, 2014
  5. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  6. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  7. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  8. Politico, "Trey Radel to resign House seat," accessed January 27, 2014
  9. Florida Elections Division, "Notice of Special Election," accessed February 4, 2014
  10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cand
  11. 11.0 11.1 Roll Call, "Republicans Gear Up to Challenge Trey Radel in Primary," accessed January 29, 2014
  12. Washington Post, "Embattled Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) gets first primary challenger," accessed January 7, 2014
  13. Roll Call, "Republican Field for Radel’s Seat Expected to Grow (Updated) (Video)," accessed January 29, 2014
  14. Associated Press, "Primary Results," accessed April 22, 2014
  15. 'Miami Herald, "FL Senate's GOP leader, Benacquisto, plans to announce bid for Radel congressional seat Monday," accessed February 3, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Politico, "Connie Mack eyes Trey Radel’s House seat," accessed November 27, 2013
  17. News Press, "Ledge Notebook: State Sen. Benacquisto expected to announce run for Congress," accessed February 3, 2014
  18. Naples News, "Lee man seeks congressional seat, will 'stand up for what I believe in'," accessed February 19, 2014
  19. Miami Herald, "Former congressman won't run in special election," accessed January 29, 2014 (dead link)
  20. News Press, "Chauncey Goss will not run in Congressional race," accessed February 3, 2014
  21. News Press, "Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto announces Congressional run," accessed February 3, 2014
  22. Florida Division of Elections, "Official Primary Results," accessed June 24, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 Fox 4, "Byron Donalds endorses Curt Clawson for Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 Naples News, "Connie Mack endorses Clawson in special congressional election," accessed March 5, 2014
  25. Shark Tank, "Tea Party Express Steams Towards Endorsing Curt Clawson For Congress," accessed April 21, 2014
  26. 26.0 26.1 Tea Party Express, "Tea Party Express proudly endorsing Curt Clawson for Florida’s 19th Congressional District," accessed April 21, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Sunshine State News, "Republicans Tout Endorsements and Pro-Life Positions in CD 19," accessed April 19, 2014
  28. Roll Call, "Rand Paul Endorses in Race to Replace Trey Radel," accessed April 19, 2014
  29. Sunshine State News, "Michelle Bachmann endorses Curt Clawson in CD 19 primary," accessed April 19, 2014
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Sunshine State News, "Lizbeth Benacquisto Gets Backing of Florida Congressmen," accessed March 11, 2014
  31. 31.0 31.1 Tampa Bay Times, "Sarah Palin endorses Benacquisto in congressional race," accessed March 31, 2014
  32. Biz Pac Review, "Sarah Palin endorses fellow ‘mama grizzly’ Lizbeth Benacquisto for Fla. CD19," accessed March 31, 2014
  33. Sunshine State News, "Sarah Palin Takes Center Stage in CD 19 Special Election," accessed April 7, 2014
  34. Biz Pac Review, "Florida Five: Benacquisto scores another national endorsement, Film-incentive program revamped," accessed April 8, 2014
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Roll Call, "House Republican Women Endorse in Florida Special Primary," accessed April 19, 2014
  36. Paige Kreegel for Congress, "Paige Kreegel Earns “A” Rating with Florida Right to Life," accessed April 19, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Special," accessed April 28, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Special," accessed September 30, 2014
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Post-Special," accessed September 30, 2014
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Curt Clawson Pre-Primary," accessed September 30, 2014
  41. Federal Election Commission, "Curt Clawson October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  42. Florida Today, "Self-funded political runs gain in strength," accessed April 26, 2014
  43. Tampa Bay Times, "Super PAC forms to boost Paige Kreegel as possible opponent to Trey Radel," accessed March 4, 2014
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 Tampa Bay Times, "Super PAC forms to boost Paige Kreegel as possible opponent to Trey Radel," accessed March 4, 2014
  45. 45.0 45.1 Federal Election Commission, "A Bright Future," accessed April 9, 2014
  46. 46.0 46.1 Bloomberg, "Yet Another SW Florida Super-PAC," accessed April 9, 2014
  47. Huffington Post, "Florida Special Election Results: Curt Clawson Wins Republican Primary," accessed April 22, 2014
  48. PBS, "Florida race highlights shadowy role of Super PACs," accessed April 23, 2014
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Politico, "The race for Waxman’s seat begins—Candidate for Radel seat releases Super Bowl-related ad—PCCC endorses Leach in PA-13—Friday standings—GOP groups drop $1.2 million in FL-13," accessed February 3,. 2014
  50. Roll Call, "GOP Candidate’s Response to Attacks? Silence and Ocean Waves," accessed April 15, 2014
  51. Tampa Bay Times, "Kreegel's first ad: 'Campaigns have become so nasty'," accessed April 2, 2014
  52. Saint Peters Blog, "Ad attacks Curt Clawson for “ignoring” calls prior to employee death," accessed April 9, 2014
  53. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Florida," November 6, 2012
  54. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013