Published: Jun 25, 2014 4:44 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 25, 2014 6:38 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC- Southwest Florida has a new representative in Congress.

WINK News was at Southwest Florida International Airport this morning as Curt Clawson made his way to Washington. The Republican Congressman was sworn into office this afternoon, officially replacing former Congressman Trey Radel.

Clawson's win last night might be seen as a rallying cry for Southwest Florida Republicans. The primary election was at times bitter and divisive. Clawson won the nomination, with only 38 percent of his party's vote. Last night, he called his win with 67 percent of the vote, a sign of party unity returning. But he says he wants to earn the respect of all voters.

"I think the first thing is with honor. And if you establish your own personal credibility with the people that we serve. So, whether we agree or disagree they trust us and know where we're coming from. Then, it's all easier after that. Work hard, bring your honor back home every night, and things tend to work out," said Clawson.

He said he's been reading up on legislation currently underway, and has already voted on two issues. In a phone interview with him this evening, Clawson said he's very humbled and ready to get to work. He's already voted "no" on whether to shift eminent domain from the local to the federal level.

Clawson also said he feels his wide margin of victory shows Southwest Florida has strong conservative roots and values. Even as the outsider, he thinks he'll interact well with the Washington insiders.

Clawson is hoping the President will take him up on the basketball challenge he made during the campaign. Clawson says a good game can be a gateway to good dialogue.