Republican businessman wins Florida race to replace cocaine congressman
June 24th, 2014
07:33 PM ET
4 weeks ago

Republican businessman wins Florida race to replace cocaine congressman

(CNN) - Republican businessman Curt Clawson won Tuesday's special general election in Florida to replace embattled former Rep. Trey Radel.

Clawson defeated Democrat April Freeman and two other candidates in the race for the state's 19th Congressional District.

Clawson had a 67%-29% lead with all precincts reporting, according to numbers compiled by The Associated Press.

Radel, a Republican who was arrested last year for cocaine possession, resigned from Congress in January, triggering contests to fill the U.S. House seat in southwest Florida.

Clawson was favored to win Tuesday in the heavily Republican district, which runs along Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast from Cape Coral and Fort Myers south to Naples and Marco Island.

He faced Freeman - who ran as a Democrat but was formerly an independent and before that a Republican - and Libertarian Ray Netherwood, as well as write-in candidate Timothy John Rossano.

Clawson will serve out the remainder of Radel's term, which runs through the end of the year. There will be an August primary ahead of November's general election.

Radel won 62% of the vote in his 2012 election victory, and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by 22-percentage points over President Barack Obama.

Radel plead guilty to drug possession charges in November after he was caught buying cocaine from an undercover federal agent in Washington. In January he wrote a letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner.

He spent nearly a month in a substance abuse program in Florida, and has maintained that his bigger struggle was with alcohol abuse, not drugs.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden congratulated Clawson on his victory, applauding his business skills as Congressional Republicans try to reign in spending in Washington.

"With his commonsense approach and business skills he will also be an invaluable voice in the battle to balance the budget and reign in Washington’s out-of-control spending," Walden said.

“Floridians have chosen a responsible conservative leader in Curt Clawson, and I look forward to working with him in the Capitol to secure a bright future for Americans across the nation.”

Complete Coverage: Midterm Elections

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Florida
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. salty dog

    So its a rich white district then, very well then.

    June 24, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Thomas

    How is Rep. Trey Radel , is he clean ?

    I hope he has to be tested and is on probation , maybe picking up garbage on the interstate .

    June 24, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. PaulCat

    Radel resigned, only if David Vitter of Louisiana would have done the same.
    But then again, the people in Louisiana are not so bright.

    June 24, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. salty dog

    You mean the drug addict who proposed laws that required drug testing to get benefits, then refused to resign after caught with cocaine, priceless! You just can't make this stuff up, lmao.

    June 24, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Guns Over People teatards love their drug addicts. Rush Limbaugh, for example.

    June 24, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    I dunno about "up for grabs." The GOP redistricted the 19th in 2010 to get rid of the last guy, Ted Deutch, who was a Dem (ended up in the 21st district), which resulted in this cokehead Teatroll meatbag winning...the fist GOPer to win the district since at least like 1983. Deutch had won this district by about 65% to 35%...but then Radel won it by about the same margin. So yeah, there's no real up for grabs about it: the GOP gerrymandered a safe district for themselves and the only question is which cookie-cutter conservative talking point parrot will end up in the seat.

    June 24, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "He spent nearly a month in a substance abuse program in Florida, and has maintained that his bigger struggle was with alcohol abuse, not drugs."

    Well, whatever it was, I hope he gets the treatment he apparently needs to deal with in his personal life choices. Beyond that, there is very little more that needs to be said about him publicly.

    One hopes his successor is better able to comport himself ... but hey. Nothing surprises me anymore. Not since 2010, when the floodgates of stupidity were opened; thus allowing "I'm With Stupid" complete control of our United States Congress.

    June 24, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Kinard

    Oh come on (family values man), stick around. There'll always be a need for a pusher of some kind in Washington. May as well be you as anyone else. Remember: There's no blood thicker than ink. And the true color of chicken feed is green.

    June 24, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "He spent nearly a month in a substance abuse program in Florida, and has maintained that his bigger struggle was with alcohol abuse, not drugs."
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Not nerly long enough.
    And the two go hand in hand, btw, cocaine and alcohol abuse.
    It strikes me as odd that someone thatw found themselves in the middle of busy Dupont Circle waiting on a "connection" that turned out to be the po-po in order to purchase not a gram but an eight-ball of coke would try to tell us, with a straight face, that alcohol was his bigger problem.
    You toot, you drink.
    You can drink and NOT toot.
    These folks think we're as stupid as they need us to be.

    June 24, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    He looks coked-up in that photo!

    June 24, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    That's not a good legacy to leave behind, " the cocaine congressman." The media shows no mercy.

    June 24, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Hopefully the people of that district don't elect anymore powderheads.

    June 24, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Clawson is obviously the preferred choice.

    June 24, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Chris-E...al

    You PPl must be on Demerol that stuff must be a powerful drug with lots of side effects .

    June 24, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Al-NY,NY

    salty dog
    So its a rich white district then, very well then.
    ----

    OR, a bunch of rednecks who carry their guns out in the open, openly taunt gays, and keep their women in place

    June 24, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. O'drama ya Mama

    Interesting...so the district put their faith in a Republican who let them down. What do they do next? Elect another Republican in hopes that he or she doesnt let them down again.

    June 24, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. salty dog

    Another gop role model. Christian, family values man, and no tolerance for drug users, except of course himself.

    June 24, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    “He spent nearly a month in a substance abuse program in Florida, and has maintained that his bigger struggle was with alcohol abuse, not drugs.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Not nerly long enough.
    And the two go hand in hand, btw, cocaine and alcohol abuse.
    It strikes me as odd that someone thatw found themselves in the middle of busy Dupont Circle waiting on a “connection” that turned out to be the po-po in order to purchase not a gram but an eight-ball of coke would try to tell us, with a straight face, that alcohol was his bigger problem.
    You toot, you drink.
    You can drink and NOT toot.
    These folks think we’re as stupid as they need us to be.

    Exactly. Not nearly enough time. He needs at least 6 months. Alcohol is the least of his problems. In the words of the late great Rick James..... "Cocaine is a helluva drug!"

    June 24, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. jinx9to88

    If this drug addict was a normal person like you or I he would be in jail for at least 7 years.

    June 24, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |