Clawson Wins Special Election Primary

Jack Fitzpatrick
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Jack Fitzpatrick
April 23, 2014, 7:25 a.m.

Busi­ness­man Curt Clawson (R) won the Re­pub­lic­an primary in the race for former Rep. Trey Radel’s seat, tak­ing 38 per­cent of the vote. State Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Lizbeth Ben­ac­quisto (R) took 26 per­cent, former state Rep. Paige Kree­gel (R) took 25 per­cent, and avi­ation con­sult­ant Mi­chael Dreikorn (R) took 11 per­cent. Clawson will be the fa­vor­ite over pub­lic re­la­tions firm own­er April Free­man (D) in the June 24 spe­cial elec­tion.

In his vic­tory speech, Clawson called for party unity, while lament­ing the neg­at­ive nature of the race. “It was am­bi­tion over truth, rat­ings over le­git­im­acy,” Clawson said. “But we are past this. I took the ar­rows and I am past this. This is over, OK?” (Naples Daily News)

Clawson was en­dorsed by the State Tea Party Ex­press, and his win is a vic­tory for tea party groups and oth­er “out­sider” can­did­ates. The Tea Party Pat­ri­ots Cit­izens Fund re­leased a state­ment say­ing the win “shows that voters are listen­ing, and that the core prin­ciples of per­son­al free­dom, eco­nom­ic free­dom and a debt-free fu­ture are win­ning is­sues.” (re­lease)

It is also en­cour­aging for self-fund­ing can­did­ates, con­sid­er­ing Clawson spent $2.65 mil­lion of his own money to over­come Ben­ac­quisto’s and Kree­gel’s su­per PAC sup­port. Clawson’s “vic­tory could be good news for the oth­er Re­pub­lic­an self-fun­ders on the bal­lot this year, many of whom have primar­ies com­ing up: Dav­id Per­due, run­ning in the crowded Geor­gia Sen­ate field; Mark Jac­obs, one of a hand­ful of GOP Sen­ate can­did­ates in Iowa; and Mike Mc­Fad­den, run­ning in a com­pet­it­ive Sen­ate primary in Min­nesota. Like Clawson, all three are polit­ic­al neo­phytes us­ing their wealth to beat their op­pon­ents on the air and build their pro­files.” (Politico)


Clawson: 26,857 (38 per­cent)

Ben­ac­quisto: 18,032 (26 per­cent)

Kree­gel: 17,762 (25 per­cent

Dreikorn: 7,560 (11 per­cent)

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