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Curt Clawson Wins Special Election to Succeed Trey Radel in Florida

Trey Radel resigned in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican businessman Curt Clawson won the special election Tuesday to replace former Rep. Trey Radel in Florida's 19th District — an outcome long expected in this heavily Republican district on the state's Gulf Coast.  

Clawson defeated Democrat April Freeman, 67 percent to 30 percent, with 1 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. He is expected to be sworn in later this week. The special was called after Radel's resignation in January, which followed his guilty plea two months earlier to cocaine possession in Washington, D.C.  

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

Radel pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in November. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.  

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.  

Rand Paul Endorses in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has endorsed in another GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.  

House Republican Women Endorse in Florida Special Primary

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., endorsed a candidate in the Florida special. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The two women leading the effort to support female candidates in Republican primaries endorsed Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto in the special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.  

Republican Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri and Diane Black of Tennessee both used the word "trust" in their statements about Benacquisto, who faces businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 special primary.  

Primary for Trey Radel's Seat Escalates on TV Airwaves

Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the special election to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., former state Rep. Paige Kreegel has gone on the airwaves with a campaign ad intended to introduce him to GOP voters ahead of the April 22 primary.  

Kreegel is running in a competitive special election to succeed Radel, who resigned from Congress  in January after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. The GOP nominee is expected to win the June 24 special election. The Kreegel campaign declined to provide specific ad-buy information, but a GOP source involved in the race said the initial television reservation is worth about $57,000. The ad is scheduled to air from April 1 to 6.  

Connie Mack Endorses in Special Election for Radel's Seat

Mack has endorsed Clawson in the race for Radel's seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Connie Mack endorsed businessman Curt Clawson, a fellow Republican, in the upcoming special election for the seat Mack held until 2012.  

In backing Clawson in Florida's 19th District, Mack cited the candidate's endorsement of the former congressman's "Penny Plan," a proposal to reduce the federal budget by 1 percent every year.  

Goss Out, Benacquisto Running For Radel Seat (Updated)

Updated 10:58 a.m.| Florida State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto will run for former Rep. Trey Radel's seat in Congress, according to a Monday news release. On the same morning, her fellow Republican, Chauncey Goss, announced he will not run in the same race.  

"I will respect the trust you place in me, and I will serve you with a dignity that reflects our shared commitment to getting Florida and our great nation back on the road to prosperity," Benaquisto wrote in an email to supporters.