Line for Mahoney Seat Appears to Be Growing

Posted February 15, 2007 at 9:57am

The Sunshine State’s 16th district is teeming with Republicans who want to go up against freshman Rep. Tim Mahoney (D).

Thomas Rooney told supporters that he was forgoing an appointment with the Florida attorney general’s office to run for Congress, according to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Rooney, an attorney who is part of the family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, said he would file candidate papers at the end of the month.

Also committed to the race is state Rep. Gayle Harrell (R), who plans to kick off her campaign March 24 with former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), the paper reported this week.

Hal Valeche, a Palm Beach Gardens city councilman, told The Palm Beach Post last week that he is “highly likely” to join the fray as well.

Also reportedly mulling bids are Rod Siedlecki, a failed state House candidate, and Mike Mett, a business consultant.

One Republican who took his name out of the mix recently is Joe Negron, who narrowly lost to Mahoney in November.

Negron became the de facto GOP nominee after then-Rep. Mark Foley (R) resigned in disgrace on Sept. 29 amid revelations that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to male pages.

It was too late to remove Foley’s name from the ballot, and Mahoney beat Negron 49 percent to 48 percent in the GOP-leaning district.

— Nicole Duran