Politics

Republicans Gear Up to Replace Trey Radel in Congress

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: November 28, 2013 3:55 AM
Connie Mack, Trey Radel, Lizbeth Benacquisto

Connie Mack, Trey Radel, Lizbeth Benacquisto

Republicans are starting to hover over Trey Radel as the disgraced congressman continues rehab after being busted with cocaine. Radel holds a solidly Republican congressional seat and more than a few prominent Republicans are looking to strike.

While he hasn’t made his intentions known, Radel is increasingly facing calls to resign. Earlier this week, Lenny Curry from the Republican Party of Florida demanded Radel fall on his sword. Rick Scott followed suit, saying it would be for the best if Radel stepped down.

There are signs that Connie Mack might want to get his old job back. Mack held the congressional seat for eight years and was moving up into the leadership, including chairing the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, before deciding to run against Bill Nelson in 2012. Keeping an active schedule in 2013, Mack looked to keep a seat at the political table after losing to Nelson. This week, Mack’s camp told Politico the former congressman was being encouraged to run for his old seat.


But Mack didn’t exactly impress against Nelson. Despite high hopes from Republicans across the nation, Mack proved one of the GOP’s biggest disappointments in 2012. After being gutted by the likes of George LeMieux, Mike McCalister and Dave Weldon in the primary, Mack was bombarded by Nelson and never quite managed a successful defense against a series of personal attacks. Mack lost badly in November and he went through a high-profile divorce with Mary Bono Mack, who lost her congressional seat in 2012, immediately thereafter.

Mack is only 46 and he could well have a second act in Congress. But it’s not a slam dunk by any means and Mack’s underwhelming showing in 2012 could encourage Republicans to challenge him in the primary for Radel’s seat.

Some names are already being bandied about, including two Republicans that Radel bested in the 2012 primary. Chauncey Goss, whose father held the seat before Mack, has expressed interest in running again. Goss placed second in the Republican primary in 2012 but still placed 8.5 percent behind Radel. After placing third, Paige Kreegel has also expressed interest in running again but he finished more than 12 percent behind Radel.

Radel gained some traction in the primary by being a fresh face and there could be one in the mix to replace him. Some Republicans are encouraging Lizbeth Benacquisto to enter the contest. Benacquisto has impressed considerably since being elected to the Florida Senate in 2010. Vaulting from local politics in Wellington to the Senate in Tallahassee, Benacquisto has moved up the legislative ladder and, only three years after being elected to the Senate, she is now the GOP leader in the chamber.

If Radel does not resign and seeks a second term, he can expect a primary fight. Whether he stays or goes, Republicans in Southwest Florida will have a busy holiday season as some of them plan to run to replace him.



Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.


Comments (11)

jean belanger
7:05AM DEC 14TH 2013
all three partys are corrupt bought by the highest bidder, mack,cruz,radel,scott,benaquisto,rubio, ryan, boehner, criminals all, deadbeats all, and they keep making it worse. if it sounds stupid it is,no doubt about it. i didnt leave the republican party, they left me. i cant endorse criminals and liars, until we ban all of them from politics and pick a new set of leaders we will get what we deserve. and right now thats garbage, garbage in, garbage out.
jean belanger
7:05AM DEC 14TH 2013
all three partys are corrupt bought by the highest bidder, mack,cruz,radel,scott,benaquisto,rubio, ryan, boehner, criminals all, deadbeats all, and they keep making it worse. if it sounds stupid it is,no doubt about it. i didnt leave the republican party, they left me. i cant endorse criminals and liars, until we ban all of them from politics and pick a new set of leaders we will get what we deserve. and right now thats garbage, garbage in, garbage out.
MarniSCarter
10:55PM NOV 29TH 2013
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uptil I looked at the check saying $8081, I have faith that my friend woz like they say actualy receiving money in there spare time from their computer.. there brothers friend has done this for only about 21 months and by now paid the loans on there cottage and bourt a top of the range Land Rover Range Rover. see this website
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Frank
9:55PM NOV 30TH 2013
Good old, unobstructed free commercial ad time at SSN . . . . must be a leaderless ship . .

Pathetic . . .
Ray Netherwood
1:13PM NOV 28TH 2013
Eternal return of the same. Yikes.

We deserve better!! Something different, no more Democrats or Republicans!
Jan Lella
1:04PM NOV 28TH 2013
I do not want ANYONE that is supposed to represent me and my votes and/or concerns who is a convicted drug offender. That goes for policemen, congressmen and my doctor. If he is a drug and/or alcohol addict he does not deserve to represent or protect me. Think about it folks ... do you really believe he is going to make some of the most important decisions with my best (or your) best interests in mind?? Would you want a cocaine addict protecting your home?? Oh puh-lease, he needs to step down and move on. He made poor choices and I don't want to pay for them by allowing him to make MORE poor choices on my behalf!
Louise Beane
12:39PM NOV 28TH 2013
Are you kidding me gary coleman… I am one of those anti-war hippies from the 60's and AM NOT a cocaine user!!! And perhaps I am "the lucky" one but regardless, I am not in the public eye, nor did I ever have the inflated ego to peruse that route. And as to blame…..who knows about addiction? Perhaps boozing and/or prescribed drugs are a part of his history? We don't know this. Perhaps the fast times in Washington became appealing to him and drink and drugs are a part of that life? It doesn't matter... the fact of this matter is he is an adult and as such, he chose to do the drug and thereby disregarded his job, along with his constituents and threw his life, along with ours, into the fate of the winds. I don't want any part of this guy legislating for my country...
Concerned
12:16PM NOV 28TH 2013
Please folks, our elected officials should be held to a higher standard. Illegal possession of drugs, he's an addict. I think all politicians should be drug and alcohol tested while on the job with regularity. Too much has been in the press recently about testing others while neglecting themselves. Let's all be on the same page here. I don't care for his hypocrisy with others. Find a new candidate.
Jan
10:39AM NOV 28TH 2013
I think he deserves another chance. He seems to have done a good job representing Florida and I think he will continue once he has solved his problem which I think he will do. We all need to clean off our own back porch before starting on someone. I hate to see his promising career ruined when others get away with illegal doings.
gary coleman
10:07AM NOV 28TH 2013
I am voting for Trey. I think it is shameful the way the newspaper are treating Trey. He has a problem and is devoting his time to correct. Please have some understanding of this cruel drug cocaine. This disease was started in the 60's by the anti-war hippies in the USA. If blame shoudlgo anywhere it should be in the hippie generation...please consider my views.
Frank
6:17PM NOV 29TH 2013
What are you smoking! . . . . no hippies I know of were using cocaine in the 60's . . . . cocaine use was on the decline . . . . try the disco era . . . . or even the late 19th century when cocaine was routinely used in patent medicines and, perhaps, even in Coca-Cola . . . yes, it was the 1970's disco era, not the 60's, that popularized its recreational use . . . . but then what should we expect from a hard-core Trey supporter . . . . just more politics of the "Big Lie" . . . so we've considered your views and find them just . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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