Florida’s GOP congressional race in Southwest Florida is wide open
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Florida’s GOP congressional race in Southwest Florida is wide open


With Rep. Bob Rommel (R) announcing that he would not run for congress in Florida’s 19th congressional district to replacing retiring Rep. Francis Rooney (R), the already crowded Republican primary race will now only have to wait for Rep. Byron Donald’s entrance into the race.

Expect Donalds (pictured) to jump into the race in the early part of January 2020, increasing the list of candidates to five.

The Republican race could become very contentious as ‘all’ of the candidates have already signaled that they were going on a conservative, pro-Trump platform, but will be running on ideology win over Republican voters?

In this district, yes.

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Rooney ran as a conservative but legislated as a moderate, and on several times, sided with progressive measures and members of Congress.

Rooney’s siding with Democrats, especially his co-sponsoring of Rep. Ted Deutch’s carbon tax bill, left many of these conservative Republicans feeling betrayed because they believed Rooney was going to follow through with the issues he ran on.

So, of the five Republicans in the race, who has the upper hand or lead in the primary race?

Rep. Heather D. Fitzenhagen is the only woman in the race, but her open support for Planned Parenthood may have already ‘aborted’ her campaign.

Dr. William Figlesthaler quietly entered the race and has been telling potential supporters that he may drop $3-5 million dollars into the race just like Rep. Rooney did several years back.

Republican House Majority Leader Dane Eagle, who has been able to garner widespread support from donors, activists, and fellow state legislators, is considered the current frontrunner.

Attorney Ford O’Connell, a Fox News contributor, may have the overall advantage in the race. O’Connell is said to have the support of Rep. Rooney himself, with the congressman having introduced him to local donors, and whose top advisors and consultants are now running O’Connell’s congressional campaign.

And then there is Byron Donalds.

Donalds has already run of this very same seat back in 2012 and could rally those Tea Party-type conservatives to back his likely run for Congress next year. Also, not that it matters (it does), Donalds checks off the rare box of being a Black Republican.

All we can say is let the games begin.


Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking.Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics.Learn more at www.brownpeople.orgEmail him at [email protected]