Benacquisto to Seek Radel's House Seat in Florida

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 03:33 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Florida state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto announced Monday that she will run to replace former Rep. Trey Radel in the Sunshine State's 19th Congressional District, which her fellow Republican vacated last week after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

"After careful consideration and with the full support of my family, I know that this is the best way for me to continue to serve southwest Florida," Benacquisto said, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The news came on the same day that Chauncey Goss, son of former U.S. Rep. Porter Goss, who also served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, announced that he will not run for Radel's seat, Roll Call reports. Goss finished second to Radel when he ran in the GOP primary in 2012.

"After careful thought and discussion with my family, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate in this upcoming special election," Goss said Monday. "As a husband and a father, my responsibility to my family must at this time take priority over the level of commitment required to properly serve as our Representative in Congress."

Former Rep. Connie Mack IV announced last week that he would not run for his former 19th District seat, which he held for eight years.

Benacquisto joins businessman Curt Clawson and former Rep. Paige Kreegel, who also ran in 2012 and finished third in the GOP primary for Radel's seat.

The Senate majority leader's name had been floated as a possible contender in the 19th District since the cocaine scandal broke in November. A Florida NBC affiliate reported in early January that Benacquisto had purchased $40,000 in campaign ads, which increased speculation that she was planning to run for Congress.

The primary is scheduled for April 22. The general election will take place on June 24.


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