Radel declares victory in Southwest Florida race for Congress

Dania Maxwell/Staff
Republican Trey Radel, left, his wife Amy Wegmann Radel, center, and their son, Jude, right, celebrate Trey's victory in the primary elections for his seat in congress for district 19 at the Trianon Bonita Bay Hotel on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL // Buy this photo

Dania Maxwell/Staff Republican Trey Radel, left, his wife Amy Wegmann Radel, center, and their son, Jude, right, celebrate Trey's victory in the primary elections for his seat in congress for district 19 at the Trianon Bonita Bay Hotel on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Trey Radel, GOP U.S. House 14 candidate, on NewsMakers 2-12-12.

Trey Radel, GOP U.S. House 14 candidate, on NewsMakers 2-12-12.

Video from NBC-2

Trey Radel, a former Southwest Florida television and radio personality, was the surprise winner in Tuesday’s District 19 Congressional race, buoyed by an endorsement from outgoing Rep. Connie Mack.

“Everyone, we did it. We did it,” an excited Radel said to supporters at a party at the Trianon Hotel in Bonita Springs. “This is a very serious, serious moment, but we can be happy. We (still) have a lot of work to do.”

According to the state’s election website, with more than 74,000 votes counted, Radel had about 30 percent of the vote. He declared victory at about 8:25 p.m.

Chauncey Goss came in second in the district with about 21.5 percent.

Goss, 46, of Sanibel Island, was endorsed by Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who is Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president. Ryan was in Southwest Florida two weeks ago stumping for Goss.

Radel now heads to the November general election against Democrat Jim Roach, 60, of Cape Coral, a retired GM research engineer and decorated Vietnam combat veteran, and nonparty candidate Brandon M. Smith, 25, of Naples, a hotel software programmer.

The district is so heavily Republican that most political observers expect Tuesday night’s vote will decide who heads to congress to replace Mack, R-Fort Myers.

The newly drawn District 19 is diverse and includes the wealthiest and poorest voters, encompassing all of Lee County and coastal portions of Collier County, including Naples and Marco Island.

Goss, 46, of Sanibel Island, strode into Mastello Italian restaurant south of Fort Myers as a crowd of 60 supporters clapped, whistled and cheered. They hugged Goss and his three sons. Goss conceded around 8:45 p.m.

“We didn’t win, but I think we had a great campaign, certainly a campaign to be proud of,” Goss said to reporters afterward.

Goss, whose father, former CIA director Porter Goss, once held the seat, attributed the loss to dilution of votes among six GOP challengers.

“It’s a six-way primary and a lot of spit votes. That’s really what it comes down to,” he said, adding that he thought Ryan’s endorsement helped his campaign. “Paul is a huge positive in anyone’s life.”

Radel also likely received a bump because of his endorsements. Radel not only received an endorsement from the congressman, but also from former Sen. Connie Mack III, the congressman’s father. The former senator also was once Southwest Florida’s congressman.

Radel said he didn’t know how much weight those endorsements carried when voters went to the polls, but said he was grateful for the support of the Mack family.

Also losing to Radel were:

■ Byron Donalds, 33, a Naples commercial credit officer and Tea Party favorite.

■ State Rep. Paige Kreegel, 53, a Punta Gorda physician and farmer who has served in the Legislature for nearly eight years, the term limit.

■ Rep. Gary Aubuchon, 50, a Cape Coral builder and real estate agent who is in his sixth year on the Legislature.

■ Trailing the pack was Naples lawyer Joe Davidow, 28.

Aubuchon conceded around 8:30 p.m.

“We thought it was going to be close, and it was, but it wasn’t close for all of us,” Aubuchon said. “The rest of us were kind of packed together. I just didn’t see one candidate breaking that far ahead of the field. That was the surprise of the night.”

Aubuchon pulled just 9 percent of the vote in Collier County, where he finished fifth, and couldn’t break from the pack in Lee County, earning 17 percent.

With his term in the state Legislature set to end, Aubuchon said he will return full-time to running his company, Aubuchon Homes.

Kreegel wasn’t immediately commenting, his campaign supporters said.

Donalds stood in front of an emotional crowd of supporters at a Naples restaurant and thanked them for their support during the past few months.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Donalds said. “If I decide to run again, which I probably will, just know I have all your phone numbers and emails.”

As the night wound down, Radel chatted with family members and supporters. He said he was taking a moment to reflect on the night’s outcome before gearing up for another few months of campaigning.

“I feel like I have a new responsibility that sits on my shoulders,” Radel said. “People believe in (our) message.”

__ Staff Writer Jacob Carpenter contributed to this report

* * * * * *Posted earlier * * * * *

Former Southwest Florida TV and radio personality Trey Radel declared victory around 8:25 p.m. Tuesday in his bid for a Congressional seat.

“This is about restoring the United States of America, which we know and love,” Radel said to supporters at a party at the Trianon hotel in Bonita Springs. “Come November, I’ll be proud to stand up as the next congressman in Southwest Florida.

“Everyone, we did it. We did it!” he said.

Radel will now head to the November general election in a race against Democrat Jim Roach, 60, of Cape Coral, a retired GM research engineer and decorated Vietnam combat veteran, and nonparty candidate Brandon M. Smith, 25, of Naples, a hotel software programmer.

But the district is so heavily Republican that most political observers expect Tuesday night’s vote will decide who heads to congress.

The newly drawn District 19 is diverse and includes the wealthiest and poorest voters, encompassing all of Lee County and coastal portions of Collier County, including Naples and Marco Island.

According to the state’s election website, with more than 74,000 votes counted in District 19, Radel had about 30 percent of the vote. Chauncey Goss was second in the district with about 21.5 percent; he was endorsed by Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who is Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president.

Radel, 36, of Fort Myers, is a popular conservative talk show host and entrepreneur. He was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, who left the seat in a bid for U.S. Senate.

Goss, 46, of Sanibel, who operates a fiscal policy analysis firm and once served as deputy staff director for the U.S. House Budget Committee.

Also trailing Radel were:

* Byron Donalds, 33, a Naples commercial credit officer and Tea Party favorite.

* State Rep. Paige Kreegel, 53, a Punta Gorda physician and farmer who has served in the Legislature for nearly eight years, the term limit.

* Rep. Gary Aubuchon, 50, a Cape Coral builder and real estate agent who is in his sixth year on the Legislature.

* Trailing the pack was Naples lawyer Joe Davidow, 28.

Aubuchon conceded around 8:30 p.m. and Goss around 8:45 p.m. Kreegel wasn't immediately commenting, his campaign supporters said.

"We thought it was going to be close, and it was, but it wasn't close for all of us," Aubuchon said. "The rest of us were kind of packed together. I just didn't see one candidate breaking that far ahead of the field. That was the surprise of the night."

Aubuchon pulled just 9 percent of the vote in Collier County, where he finished fifth, and couldn't break from the pack in Lee County, earning 17 percent.

Television might have doomed the campaign, Aubuchon said. Radel, Kreegel and Goss all had larger network television buys.

A negative ad against Radel might have backfired, Aubuchon added. The ad criticized Radel's company for buying explicit domain names, but its production value and a response ad featuring Radel's wife, television anchor Amy Wegmann, might have made Radel sympathetic, Aubuchon said.

"I really think it was the attack ad that was running against him and his response to the attack ad that actually brought him ahead of the field," Aubuchon said.

With his term in the state legislature set to end, Aubuchon said he will return full-time to running his company, Aubuchon Homes.

Donalds stood in front of an emotional crowd of supporters at a Naples restaurant and thanked them for all of their support during the past few months.

"I'm not going anywhere," Donalds said. "If I decide to run again, which I probably will, just know I have all your phone numbers and emails."

* * * * * *Posted earlier * * * * *

Trey Radel has grabbed a commanding lead in Lee and Collier election results in a six-way race for Southwest Florida’s District 19 congressional seat, in a contest experts predicted would be hard to call among four top challengers.

According to the state’s election website, with more than 50,000 votes counted in District 19, Radel had about 37 percent of the vote. Chauncey Goss was second in the district with about 19 percent; he was endorsed by Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who is Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president.

Radel, 36, of Fort Myers, is a popular conservative talk show host and entrepreneur. He was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, who left the seat in a bid for U.S. Senate.

As of 8:15 p.m., Radel had yet to show up at his election night party in Bonita Springs.

The room erupted in cheers as supporters watched election results. Supporters clapped and yelled "go Trey!"

"This is only the beginning, the big one is in November," the party DJ announced/

Supporters were waiting for Radel to come downstairs as of 8:15 p.m.

Goss, 46, of Sanibel, who operates a fiscal policy analysis firm and once served as deputy staff director for the U.S. House Budget Committee.

Also trailing Radel were:

* Byron Donalds, 33, a Naples commercial credit officer and Tea Party favorite.

* State Rep. Paige Kreegel, 53, a Punta Gorda physician and farmer who has served in the Legislature for nearly eight years, the term limit.

* Rep. Gary Aubuchon, 50, a Cape Coral builder and real estate agent who is in his sixth year on the Legislature.

* Trailing the pack was Naples lawyer Joe Davidow, 28.

Optimism is running thin at the watch party for Aubuchon in Cape Coral, where about 50 supporters have gathered.

Aubuchon, casually dressed in a campaign polo shirt, has been greeting supporters in the foyer of his real estate company's headquarters, also his campaign base as he tries to ascend from the Florida Legislature to Congress.

Aubuchon's struggles appear to have manifested in Collier County, where he had less than 10 percent of the early vote with about half of precincts reporting.

* * * * * *Posted earlier * * * * *

Trey Radel appears to be the winner of heated six-way race for Southwest Florida’s District 19 congressional seat, in a contest so close experts admitted it was hard to call between four top challengers.

Radal won in Lee County; Byron Donalds was leading in Collier County.

Radel, 36, of Fort Myers, is a popular conservative talk show host and entrepreneur. He was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, who left the seat in a bid for U.S. Senate.

Donalds, 33, is a Naples commercial credit officer and Tea Party favorite.

Trailing Radel, who had about 37 percent of the vote in Lee and who was a close third in Collier, were:

Chauncey Goss, 46, of Sanibel, who operates a fiscal policy analysis firm and once served as deputy staff director for the U.S. House Budget Committee.

State Rep. Paige Kreegel, 53, a Punta Gorda physician and farmer who has served in the Legislature for nearly eight years, the term limit.

Rep. Gary Aubuchon, 50, a Cape Coral builder and real estate agent who is in his sixth year on the Legislature.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 58

sally1860 writes:

Honestly, if that hack is my next Congressman, I can't leave the area fast enough.

newzhound (Inactive) writes:

not good news....

CoolridenJoe (Inactive) writes:

They will regret voting Radel into office.

newzhound (Inactive) writes:

Since he's not a politician, do you think he will agree to term limit himself?

Aoxomoxoa writes:

Low turnout+Tea Party Lemming vote+huge field= this putz could get elected.

LOL! Freakin Ricky the thief Scott and Trey Radel!

Naples couldn't be any more out of touch.

swfl_ff writes:

Radel had name recognition and that's all it takes to win office when the electorate won't do their homework. Look how well that has worked for Connie Bono..I mean Mack.

CoolridenJoe (Inactive) writes:

He still has the general election yet!

reddragon writes:

Trey had Macks endorsement, money, and name recognition from radio & TV. Not surprised at all he had it all working crushed the field. William Mckinley,s campaign manager once said you need two things to win an election. Money & Money look out here comes Mitt thank God.

WadeGarrett (Inactive) writes:

in response to Aoxomoxoa:

Low turnout+Tea Party Lemming vote+huge field= this putz could get elected.

LOL! Freakin Ricky the thief Scott and Trey Radel!

Naples couldn't be any more out of touch.

It was a primary. Dukakis won the primary also and was leading until October but lost huge.

greathornedlizard writes:

Thanks, God there is a Democrat to vote for!

Heraclitus writes:

in response to CoolridenJoe:

They will regret voting Radel into office.

Wow... who'd a thunk it?

Hey... how much damage can he do? He'll just take some trips, line his pockets and retire on their pension plan... like all the others. Good for him.

brown writes:

Goss just endorsed Roach for November election..

reddragon writes:

in response to newzhound:

Since he's not a politician, do you think he will agree to term limit himself?

No congressman would vote themself out with term limits. 150,000 a year, pension, power everyone kissing your but entire staff in washington and the home front. He will be there for the next 28 years or as long as the sun shines on the beachs. Economy here is all tourest does not have to do much except not get a felony or be involved in a scandle and he is here for the long run.

reddragon writes:

in response to CoolridenJoe:

He still has the general election yet!

He could put one sign in his front yard and win 80% of the vote. All GOP Down here.

upagain writes:

Its a Sad day for America in General.

straighttalkinnaples writes:

in response to greathornedlizard:

Thanks, God there is a Democrat to vote for!

Uhhh...I'm sure that perennial loser Roach will fulfill his role nicely in November.

legalcitizen writes:

Disgusting!!!

flybynight writes:

Got this one right! Good Job people. The Dems on here making comments are your typical clueless. Tell us oh great Democrats, can you name 3 things that the Dems have done to help the poor in the last 4 years?

iluvourcountry writes:

Trey is just a puppet for the " machine". There are many factors to look at. Redistricting, Collier lost a lot of middle class voters, but the money was still in the district. Trey's relationship with the Macks, where and how did Trey get a $200,000 personal loan that he put back into his campaign. He wasn't working, Amy wasn't working. He doesn't own a home, he rents. He had to pay $10,000 to get on the ballot, couldn't get enough signatures. But that didn't matter. Never had volunteers at any events, didn't matter. Used smear tactics to slow down any momentum from other candidates. Lies and distortions. Kept silent and ran when the heat was on. They've been grooming him for four years. Do the research and you will see.

radman500 writes:

folks are fed up with politicians...they want outsiders like Trey...its our only hope to stop oBOMBa

HAP writes:

Terrible. This guy is a con man. We voted for Chauncey Goss, much more experience. All Radel has done is talk. That's it. And he wins. God people are dumb.

naples50 writes:

in response to paprika:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

One of the big reasons the republicans will likely not win the white house again. The one issue republicans that only care about abortion. the party is doomed.

Naples71 writes:

in response to newzhound:

Since he's not a politician, do you think he will agree to term limit himself?

That was a joke, wasn't it?

staghorn writes:

What happened to the republican party?

http://fortmyers.craigslist.org/col/v...

volochine writes:

Massive turnout. Winner had 30% of the vote. I'm impressed. Let's see if he runs for the woods like most republicans, when Rep. Paul Ryan visits here.

My biggest complaint would be in calling Trey Radel a journalist. That's just not right. He's a talking head who reads a teleprompter much like Ron Burgundy.

Jarvis (Inactive) writes:

The best news is that three of the term-limit incumbents who were running for this job all lost.

Thank God, they will have to stop sucking off the taxpayers for a year or two, and perhaps they might even get real jobs.

newzhound (Inactive) writes:

I don't see any relevant experience in Radel. He was a reporter and then talking head. He started a small newspaper and sold it. He had a talk radio show.

His positions: Presentations were a bunch of sound bites and talking points. Little substance.

His campaign: "he wasn't a politician" yet had a group around him to do his bidding who sent opposition emails. He personally bought the domain names of opponents. Name recognition led a group of voter sheep.

I think a previous commentor is correct. He will relish the cache of the office, be on the government dole for a lifetime and long forget his outrage over career politicians.

ArrowII writes:

YES Trey Radel!

CarpeVeritas writes:

The saddest result of this sad story is it proves all it takes is money to buy an election.

He who sells his vote most, wins.

dab writes:

Anyone else notice that Byron Donalds got a couple thousand more votes in the FINAL "Unofficial NDN Vote Tally"?! If that's true, then Radel didn't win after all. Let's see what the offical final count shows....

Aoxomoxoa writes:

in response to CarpeVeritas:

The saddest result of this sad story is it proves all it takes is money to buy an election.

He who sells his vote most, wins.

How much did Rick "I am not a thief" Scott spend to get elected?

QueBonita writes:

I will NOT vote for any candidate who rudely interrupts me with recorded phone calls.
I will NOT purchase any goods or services from any company who engages in the same rude behavior.
I receive an average of five marketing and political calls a day. Not only is it changing the way I answer the phone, but I’m detecting a change in other people’s voices when they answer their phones.
I’ll definitely endorse a candidate who promises to eliminate Junk phone calls without eliminating Obamacare

CarpeVeritas writes:

in response to Aoxomoxoa:

How much did Rick "I am not a thief" Scott spend to get elected?

Another excellent example of financial brawn over brains.

h8snow writes:

Wake up people. Not this guy please. A divider, not a uniter. Seems ignorant and has his head where the sun does not shine.

staghorn writes:

in response to newzhound:

I don't see any relevant experience in Radel. He was a reporter and then talking head. He started a small newspaper and sold it. He had a talk radio show.

His positions: Presentations were a bunch of sound bites and talking points. Little substance.

His campaign: "he wasn't a politician" yet had a group around him to do his bidding who sent opposition emails. He personally bought the domain names of opponents. Name recognition led a group of voter sheep.

I think a previous commentor is correct. He will relish the cache of the office, be on the government dole for a lifetime and long forget his outrage over career politicians.

Hark! Trey Radek does have experience, plenty of experience ....in XXX rated porn sites!

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2...

Starting in 2005, his now-defunct company, Trey Enterprises, registered a number of sexually charged web addresses, many of them in Spanish, according to historical domain name ownership records. Among them is www.cojible.com, a slang term defined by Urban Dictionary as "a woman who doesn't look good, but is good enough to sleep with." There was also ww.casadelasputas.com ('house of iill repute' house), ww.mamadita.com (little 'hair dryer' job *), ww.chicasderio.com (girls of Rio). And in English: ww.sxxguideonline.com.

So this guy will be the 'perfect' republican to represent Florida!
TOOOOO FUNNY!!

You can't make this stuff up!
Never trust a republican©

turfking writes:

in response to sally1860:

Honestly, if that hack is my next Congressman, I can't leave the area fast enough.

I just wish you socialists would actually do say what you say (move out). Obamabot Jim Roach doesn't stand a chance in November so you better get used to the sound of United States Congressman Trey Radel.

bcnaples writes:

Radel, what a hack; he epitomizes all that is wrong with politics in America today. Radel doesn't have an original thought or idea, no leadership or business skills, just a little money, a few connections and a lot of maneuvering.
I will vote for whomever runs against this stuffed shirt. I am a proud conservative.

h8snow writes:

Another embarrassing episode for Floriduh. Porn for money. Way to go Trey and all the holier than thou electorate that voted for him. Unbelievable. Trey: Did you write off your porn losses or post porn gains on your tax returns?

KennyR (Inactive) writes:

Good for Trey, he'll make a fine congressman.

itmattershere writes:

This just plain out sucks!!!

swfl_ff writes:

in response to iluvourcountry:

Trey is just a puppet for the " machine". There are many factors to look at. Redistricting, Collier lost a lot of middle class voters, but the money was still in the district. Trey's relationship with the Macks, where and how did Trey get a $200,000 personal loan that he put back into his campaign. He wasn't working, Amy wasn't working. He doesn't own a home, he rents. He had to pay $10,000 to get on the ballot, couldn't get enough signatures. But that didn't matter. Never had volunteers at any events, didn't matter. Used smear tactics to slow down any momentum from other candidates. Lies and distortions. Kept silent and ran when the heat was on. They've been grooming him for four years. Do the research and you will see.

Exactly! Radel is nothing more than another Mack. Another empty suit. He had connections and a familiar name going for him. He has taken few hard stances on the issues and avoids debates just like Mack has over the years.

Sadly too many voters did not take the time to educate themselves on all the candidates. and just voted for the familiar name. There were several other candidates that were much better qualified for this office than Radel but the voters took the easy way out once again.

newzhound (Inactive) writes:

Total registered voters Lee&Collier 547,117
Total registered Republican " " 256,709
Total Republican votes cast " " 96,941
Total votes cast D-19 race " " 74,316
Votes received by Radel " " 22,284

The republican primary D-19 race fell to Radel with less than 10% of registered republican vote. Hardly a mandate.

source: links on NDN site

bana writes:

At least he POs the libtards.
Put up or shut up.

MisterK writes:

Vote for Jim Roach.

soupy writes:

What a bunch of sorry losers !!
Wake up and keep AMERICA alive, our country is in a sad situation, big time!!!! Get your head out of the sand......

Colorado (Inactive) writes:

in response to Huuuuuge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are the one we would be better off without. See ya!!!

bcnaples writes:

he also might ought to check this website's unofficial results. he's a solid #2, yeah!

vsdill writes:

My reading of the results from CollierVotes.com is that Radel did not win. He received 5,355 votes. Is Radel jumping the gun?

swamp4ever writes:

in response to HAP:

Terrible. This guy is a con man. We voted for Chauncey Goss, much more experience. All Radel has done is talk. That's it. And he wins. God people are dumb.

Experience? You mean you want someone thats been a part of the Washington D.C. political machine? Sorry, we don't need any more Washington insiders.

swfl_ff writes:

in response to vsdill:

My reading of the results from CollierVotes.com is that Radel did not win. He received 5,355 votes. Is Radel jumping the gun?

Colliervotes.com is the Collier County Elections Office website. It shows just the results from Coller County. This can be confusing if elections that entail more than one county. Radel did not win in Collier but pulled enough votes in Lee to take the election overall.

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