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." Paul is the latest national Republican figure to back a candidate in the race. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and two members of Congress recently endorsed Benacquisto.
The winner of the primary is a safe bet to win the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.