LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Republican Paige Kreegel is running for congress to represent District 19 -- most of Lee and Collier Counties. Kreegel wants to replace Cong. Trey Radel, who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in Washington.
"This is not about Radel, it is about the other 795-thousand people in the district who deserve better represenation in Washington, D.D.," Kreegel told supporters and reporters in Fort Myers.
"I will run a positive campaign. I am running whether Radel runs for re-election or not," adds Kreegel.
He is a medical doctor with 30 years experience, and a former state representative. He is playing up his medical background, saying he could play a leading role in reforming the mandatory health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act.
Kreegel could face competitors, including possibly Radel himself. Chauncey Goss, son of former congressman Porter Goss, still is considering a run for the seat.
State Senator Lizbeth Benaquisto has been running TV spots in the Fort Myers-Naples market, highlighting her accomplishments in office. Some republicans believe she would be an excellent candidate for congress.
Former congressman Connie Mack will make a decision about running at the appropriate time, according to an aide. The statement does not say when that might be.
But for now, Kreegel is in, and is the best-known candidate to file papers to run for the seat as a Republican. His supporters at the Tuesday annoucement included several former state law-makers.
Anthony Farhat of Cape Coral, founder of the political action committee, "Values are Vital", says he likes Kreegel as a candidate. Farhat says the so-called "super PAC" has raised more than one- million dollars in just over one month. That money can be spent to advertise for a specific candidate, or for an issue. Farhat says his goal is to make sure Southwest Florida has a congressman in the future who best represents the community, one who will "put his best foot forward for the area." He believes, Cong. Radel does not meet that goal.