FORT MYERS, Fla. - Congressman Elect Curt Clawson is heading to Washington, D.C. He will be sworn in today as the new Representative for Southwest Florida. Clawson won District 19 special election Tuesday night by at least 66 percent of the votes, but his opponents told WINK News they still intend to run in the general election this fall.
WINK News checked the state's election website. All four candidates are registered to run in the general election. According to early unofficial results, Clawson captured 66 percent of the votes. Cape Coral Democrat April Freeman captured 24 percent of the votes.
"We have to work harder, get our message out there. Let people know who I am, what I am all about," Freeman said Tuesday after the loss. "Not too many people get a practice run, and we got that."
Marco Island Libertarian Ray Netherwood echoed the same mentality Tuesday night. Netherwood said it was an achievement for a libertarian to receive at least three percent of the vote.
"If you take a look at the demographics of the district, what you've largely seen is Democrats walk and circle the 'D' box and Republicans walk in and circle the 'R' box. In order for me to get to 3-percent or more of vote means there had to be defections on both sides. If this trend continues, if the message of liberty as opposed to more of the same gets across to voters, there's a chance in November Mr. Clawson won't return," Netherwood said.
Even write-in candidate Timothy Rossano felt encouraged despite the loss.
"I don't look at this as a loss, I look at it as a gain…[I'll] build on the base I've just won with this election, which I believe was 241 votes and just keep building on that, getting my message out of self-governance," Rossano said.
Despite the candidates' hopeful spirits, political expert Dr. Peter Bergerson told WINK News Tuesday's special election will determine the general election.
"I just don't see any serious candidates challenging whoever wins today," Dr. Bergerson said. "Most likely the November election will really be a yawner, whoever wins the election today, they'll be head's on favorite, perhaps a shoe-in to win the November election."
Clawson will finish the term through this year. The candidate elected in the fall will take over District 19 January 1, 2015.