State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto in a Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, 46, who climbed to majority leader in the
Florida Senate after only three years, announced today she will seek the
U.S. Congressional seat in District 19, recently vacated by Rep. Trey
Radel, who resigned after his cocaine arrest.
R-Fort Myers, will seek to become only the 18th Republican woman as a
member of Congress. But it will be a quick campaign - and one, she may
have to do twice this year. The primary for the special election to fill
Radel's seat for the remaining months of this term will be April 22,
followed by the general election on June 24.
calling out for someone who can end the dysfunction in Washington,"
Benacquisto said. The constituents that I have the honor and privilege
to serve, I truly care about them. We have been strong and resolute in
their encouragement and general push for me to lend my name for
consideration. That coupled with the fact that there are so many
critical issues in our country that effect our area have motivated me to
serve in that capacity."
The winner will have to turn
right around and campaign again since the primary election for the
regular term is Aug. 26, followed by the general election on Nov. 4.
was long rumored to announced her candidacy for the district seat,
which includes an area from Cape Coral to Marco Island. She was in
Washington last week meeting with Republican leadership about a possible
She will remain in the state legislature throughout her campaign run.
has been a driver in healthcare, crime and water quality issues. She
sponsored and got passed the "Cancer Treatment Fairness Act," which
allows patients to receive access to live-saving oral chemotherapy
She has maintained an active leadership role in
water quality issues involving Lake Okeechobee releases and their
harmful effects on the Caloosahatchee basin. She understands the need to
continue to work with the federal government to find the funding to
finish critical flow way projects as well as completing construction on
the Herbert Hoover Dike. She has been successful in increasing funds for
Pace Center for Girls and securing funds for FGCU's Innovation Hub. Her
prior efforts resulted in the passing of the Andrew Widman Act to help
keep repeat violent offenders off the streets.
She joins a
field that includes former state. Rep. Paige Kreegel, who has already
announced he will seek the seat, joining five other Republicans who have
filed election paperwork - Curt Clawson, Mike Giallombardo, Brian
Gibens, Timothy Rossano and Michael Dreikorn. Chauncey Goss, who lost to
Radel in the primary in 2012, and former Congressman Connie Mack IV
have said they will not seek the seat.
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