Brent Batten: Donalds attempts to do the undoable

BRENT BATTEN
Candidate Byron Donalds

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Candidate Byron Donalds

Byron Donalds had the biggest contingent of any of the candidates for U.S. House District 19 in Naples' Fourth of July parade.

Not that large parade contingents are an indicator of future election results.

Byron Donalds has been doing well in straw polls.

Not that straw polls are an indicator of future election results.

Byron Donalds has more than 7,000 Twitter followers.

Not that having 7,000 Twitter followers is an indicator of future election results.

But one can't help but suspect that in this election, where a relatively small number of votes may be enough to propel a person to Congress, the political rookie going up against bigger names with more money, is onto something.

Donalds, a 33-year-old portfolio manager with CMG Surety in Naples, is a favorite with the tea party and other grassroots organizations, such as Get Out of Our House.

The last time the Southwest Florida-centric House seat was without an incumbent in the race was 2004 after U.S. Rep. Porter Goss resigned to take the CIA director's job.

Four Republicans squared off for the party's nomination, with Connie Mack IV, a Florida House member and the son of former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III, the most recognizable name.

Mack won the party nomination with just over 27,000 votes, amounting to 36 percent of the total.

This year, with Mack leaving the House to run for Senate, six Republicans are contending for the nomination. Chauncey Goss, son of Porter Goss, radio host Trey Radel, Florida Rep. Gary Aubuchon and former Rep. Paige Kreegel all have higher profiles than Donalds and all have parlayed that into in excess of $200,000 each in contributions through the last reporting cycle.

Only Naples attorney Joe Davidow, who has raised about $2,000 has less money to work with than Donalds' $22,000 in contributions.

With the Aug. 14 primary winner taking the nomination without a runoff, a candidate could theoretically seize the nomination with as little as 20 percent of the vote.

As Donalds sees it, "The first one to 20,000 (votes) wins."

He hopes to reach that number through a ground up campaign that gets face to face with as many people as possible.

"My message is very clear and very specific and resonates with the voters," he said.

He doesn't sound terribly different than the others in the race, calling for a repeal of Obamacare, tax reform, an end to automatic increases in federal spending and secure borders.

He articulates the conservative view with the conviction of a person once registered as a Democrat who says he educated himself on issues before switching sides. "I'm a convert," he says. "I had to read to understand what conservatism means. It wasn't done on a whim. It wasn't inherited. I did the research to come to that decision. We need more converts."

A Donalds win would be the sort of tea party triumph that would capture national attention.

Toward that end, he's turned his lack of political pedigree into a positive, gaining traction as "the people's candidate."

People have responded, marching beside him, nearly 100 strong, in the Naples parade.

His Twitter following is nearly 10 times that of his rivals.

He's won three straw polls at events sponsored by a coalition of conservative groups including GOOOH, the Naples Tea Party, Lee 912, SWFL Fair Tax and Americans for Prosperity.

Radel, Goss and Aubuchon won't be participating in two upcoming events sponsored by some of the same groups. Donalds believes it is because they are tired of being beaten by him. Keith Flaugh, one of the organizers, agrees. "In one respect, I can't blame them. They keep getting beat by Donalds," he said.

While Flaugh says the forums are fair to all the candidates, including the lone Democrat in the race, Donalds is the choice of the GOOOH vetting process conducted earlier this year, raising concerns about the even-handedness of the arrangement.

Sheryl Wooley, former chief of staff to Porter Goss and now Chauncey Goss' campaign manger, says the Goss campaign told Flaugh in May that Goss would be unable to attend his group's July forums because of other activities. Chauncey Goss is scheduled to attend other full-field forums in July, one on Marco Island and another in Lee County, she points out.

It's unfair to say the other candidates are out of the upcoming forums over concerns of being upstaged by Donalds, Wooley said. "Most organizations do one. This group has done six. When you do five for one organization and you don't do the sixth? Come on," Wooley said.

Radel says that doing three bipartisan forums with one group is enough. "We have enjoyed the lively discussion and debate. However, we are just weeks away from our Republican primary. It is critical for us to reach out and share our message with Republicans," said campaign spokesman Matt Pusateri.

Radio station 92.5 Fox News was set to broadcast live a July 16 forum with all seven candidates until some started saying they wouldn't attend, said Program Director John Mountz. He said the station will look for other ways to feature the candidates as the primary date nears.

Donalds was raised by a single mother in Brooklyn who worked to send him to private school.

After graduating high school in 1996 he went to Florida State University where he got a degree in finance. His reason for choosing, Florida State? "I got tired of the cold," he said.He settled in Naples where he lives with his wife and three children.

With no background in politics but a concern over federal spending, he became involved in the tea party movement soon after its inception. From that came his interest in running.

One sure sign a candidate is being taken seriously is when opponents begin leveling allegations. In addition to pointing out he was a Democrat until just a few years ago, supporters of the other candidates have cited two evictions and a divorce in Donalds' past.

The evictions, he says, came when he was in college. "Humble beginnings means humble beginnings," Donalds says. "At one point I just didn't have the money to pay the rent. The other time, it was my roommate who didn't have the money."

As for the divorce, "We were 19. We thought we were in love."

Donalds is African-American, a fact that may help him with tea party voters anxious to demonstrate their distaste for President Barack Obama isn't based on race.

But Donalds downplays race as a factor in his success.

"I think conservatives are longing for just a couple of things," he said. "Somebody who is going to be unapologetic about conservatism and someone who can articulate their ideas."

Now he marshals a group of some 250 volunteers as they try to pull off the unheard of task of beating veteran politicians and a local media celebrity in an arena where name recognition is king.

"People are tired of politicians," he said. "That's how we came to be here today, from me being a political unknown to on July 5, you're talking to me."

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 95

ZoeyJoy writes:

Byron Donald's just won his 4th of 4 forum Straw Polls at the Lee REC forum today too! On to something? You betcha!
GOOOO Byron!!!!

John_Galt writes:

Don't forget about the other GOOOH candidate, Peter Richter running for the State House District 106 (Naples-Marco) against an incumbent RINO who thinks partial-birth abortions are a woman's right.

Learn more about Peter Richter at http://www.electRichter.com

ConservativeinNaples writes:

in response to ZoeyJoy:

Byron Donald's just won his 4th of 4 forum Straw Polls at the Lee REC forum today too! On to something? You betcha!
GOOOO Byron!!!!

Not so fast ZoeyJoy. I don't think Byron won the straw poll in Cape Coral last week. Actually, I think he finished 4th according to the Fort Myers News Press this morning. Its easy to get sucked into the vortex that is swirling here, but be careful. Byron is a nice guy who gives a nice speech, but he is a newly-minted Republican who has somewhat of an unknown background. Before I get on his bandwagon, I need to know more about who he really is, where he comes from, and exactly why he thinks he is the most qualified to represent me in Congress. His web page is nice and has many constitutional conservative buzz words, but I need more than words - either spoken or on paper - I need to see actions as proof he is ready to represent me.

dshestokas writes:

People CHOOSE to follow on Twitter, people CHOOSE to march in Parades, people CHOOSE to vote in straw polls. None of that is based on name recognition from a media career or family political connections. No, Byron Donalds is connecting with people, not political insiders. He and his supporters are onto something.

If you are interested in why there are 7,319 people following Byron on twitter, follow him yourself at: https://twitter.com/ByronDonalds

There are other folks that make choices as well. Each and every one of Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to meet the people of Lehigh Acres today at the largest political gathering in that area. Only Byron cared enough to respect those voters. Maybe the other candidates should be asked why they made that choice.

ZoeyJoy writes:

in response to ConservativeinNaples:

Not so fast ZoeyJoy. I don't think Byron won the straw poll in Cape Coral last week. Actually, I think he finished 4th according to the Fort Myers News Press this morning. Its easy to get sucked into the vortex that is swirling here, but be careful. Byron is a nice guy who gives a nice speech, but he is a newly-minted Republican who has somewhat of an unknown background. Before I get on his bandwagon, I need to know more about who he really is, where he comes from, and exactly why he thinks he is the most qualified to represent me in Congress. His web page is nice and has many constitutional conservative buzz words, but I need more than words - either spoken or on paper - I need to see actions as proof he is ready to represent me.

Not so fast Conservative in Naples?
1st The Cape poll was a Hob Nob and the candidates didn't speak. He's WON four straw polls now - including today's Lee County REC forum today - nothing to do with GOOOH.
2nd, his votes on the News Press Poll have him in 1st Place, ANOTHER not GOOOH poll. Byron Donalds 27.27% (1,633 votes) see here:http://www.news-press.com/article/201...

Not getting sucked into a vortex at all...Gives a nice speech? Really? That's all you can say?

Almost 100 strong supporters at the parade. 5 straw polls out of six. He's lived in this community for 10 years, he studied for 4 years prior in Tallahassee, he's from Brooklyn. He has 3 kids all under the age of 9. He works a full time job AND campaigns full time. He is a leader in his church for the youth. He is Chairman of the Child Evangelical Board which helps in after school programs. His wife is a partner and a CPA who works full time too.
When you can do all that and still be so articulate and thoughtful, let me know. Maybe I'll vote for you one day too!

sjvail writes:

One thing is for certain, people are curious by nature, if there is a loud noise we immediately set out to investigate what it is and Donalds is doing just that, making a noise within the Conservative Republican Party.
You can say that all straw polls are "rigged" due to his numerous volunteers showing up and stacking the deck in his favor or his plethora of fans on Facebook, Twitter and the regulars who write into Naples News.com are the reason we have even heard of Donalds as of yet. However that is exactly the point, when people watch a parade and one candidate stands out among all others because of the large group of devoted followers, like it or not, that says something...and the average voter is taking notice. You wonder why 200 plus people would take there holiday, show up early and walk the sweltering SW Florida heat for over 2 hours to promote a candidate? Because he is a candidate that speaks the truth and does not apologize for it, he is not hear because of money, name or a long career in politics, he is here because of being 100% committed to the issues, to people and being "their" representative point blank.
The fact of the matter is that there is a noise being made within the Republican party, right here in Congressional District 19, and my advice to those not onboard the Donalds Liberty Express, "you had better take shelter because you have awoken a sleeping giant, and the villagers are rallying behind him"

JayPaulVonkoffler writes:

Wow! The rookie is marching on and taking names-Go Byron!!!! A Donalds win would be the sort of tea party triumph that would capture national attention.

Toward that end, he's turned his lack of political pedigree into a positive, gaining traction as "the people's candidate."

People have responded, marching beside him, nearly 100 strong, in the Naples parade. If I had a son I wish he would be like you Byron.

US_Citizen writes:

in response to ConservativeinNaples:

Not so fast ZoeyJoy. I don't think Byron won the straw poll in Cape Coral last week. Actually, I think he finished 4th according to the Fort Myers News Press this morning. Its easy to get sucked into the vortex that is swirling here, but be careful. Byron is a nice guy who gives a nice speech, but he is a newly-minted Republican who has somewhat of an unknown background. Before I get on his bandwagon, I need to know more about who he really is, where he comes from, and exactly why he thinks he is the most qualified to represent me in Congress. His web page is nice and has many constitutional conservative buzz words, but I need more than words - either spoken or on paper - I need to see actions as proof he is ready to represent me.

ConservativeinNaples, you seem to know a lot about a candidate you don't know. Maybe the reason he finished fourth in Cape Coral is because he wasn't given a chance to speak like he has at every other forum he has won. You are right on that people need to do their homework! I would also encourage people to see for themselves. Voters aren’t s-----, they actually sense when someone knows their stuff vs. putting on a political show. Byron is the real thing. You sure seemed to include a lot of savvy political statement in your comment. Are you authentic?

ConservativeinNaples writes:

Didn't mean to touch a nerve. I was just pointing out that Mr. Donalds has not won every straw poll and that he is an absolute unknown in the business community of SW Florida. No value - good or bad - associated with that statement. It is my observation that he has come out of no where and that makes me pause. No need to be defensive. I am not attacking him nor belittling his accomplishments. I am just offering my observations.

ZoeyJoy writes:

in response to ConservativeinNaples:

Didn't mean to touch a nerve. I was just pointing out that Mr. Donalds has not won every straw poll and that he is an absolute unknown in the business community of SW Florida. No value - good or bad - associated with that statement. It is my observation that he has come out of no where and that makes me pause. No need to be defensive. I am not attacking him nor belittling his accomplishments. I am just offering my observations.

Ok. Have you been to an event where you can meet him and hear him speak? That would be important, in fact, I encourage you to do that with all the candidates. The forums are nice because you do get to see all of them at the same time. You should go to one.
The next forum is

US Congressional Candidate Forum
When: Tue, July 10, 7pm – 9pm
Where: First Baptist Church, 4117 Coronado Parkway Cape Coral, FL 33904

and the next day on Marco Island, the Caxambas Republican Club forum:

When: Wed, July 11, 6pm – 8pm
Where: Rose Auditorium, 180 South Heathwood Drive, Marco Island

JoiV writes:

Such exciting news to hear about all the straw polls Byron Donalds is winning --> 5 out of 6 --> incredible!

I participated in the GOooh process with Byron, so I had the opportunity to hear him explain his answers to 100 current political issues. GOooh is a non-partisan selection process - over 300 people vetted each other using their answers to 25 questions in the first rounds, ultimately selecting 12 of the most preferred participants to advance to a final round where they discussed their answers to 100 questions and then voted on the best candidate to run for the seat in CD19 - the final candidate selected in the GOooh process was Byron Donalds. If that doesn't speak volumes for Byron's credibility, I don't know what does.

I believe that Byron is the most principled, sincere, and diligent candidate running. He is a very critical thinker and an excellent communicator. I met all the other candidates - the forums gave me the opportunity to do that all in one place - but not one impressed me like Byron does.

It's a shame the other candidates won't participate in the last two Leap2Liberty forums being held. Unlike the others, these forums will be streamed live online on a website by the same name. Where else will they have a free opportunity to reach such a potentially large audience? The forums will also be recorded and posted on the website for those unable to attend or listen live.

Ask yourself what is the real reason the other candidates don't want to participate in those forums?

DavidOsborne writes:

Great Article! Thank You !

“I endorse Byron Donalds with a high level of enthusiasm. I am the Florida leader for GOOOH, which stand for Get Out Of Our House (http://www.GOOOH.com) we facilitate a non-partisan candidate selection process. As a resident of Tallahassee I do not participate in the GOOOH candidate selection process in Southwest Florida District 19. I’ve watched Byron Donalds since he was chosen by his fellow competitors as the Citizen’s Choice there and I have reviewed videos taken during the candidate selection process. I have come to know Byron more throughout his campaign, and had the honor and privilege to met him in person at the Florida Parent Educator’s Association Convention. I now understand why he is BY FAR the best candidate in this race. This is the first election where GOOOH has successfully vetted candidates using the GOOOH candidate selection process. Byron will be a shining example for future GOOOH peer-selected candidates to follow. I look forward to having a GOOOH peer selected candidate in all 27 districts of Florida in the 2014 primary election, hopefully of the caliber of Byron Donalds.”

JoiV writes:

in response to John_Galt:

Don't forget about the other GOOOH candidate, Peter Richter running for the State House District 106 (Naples-Marco) against an incumbent RINO who thinks partial-birth abortions are a woman's right.

Learn more about Peter Richter at http://www.electRichter.com

I participated in the GOooh process with Peter Richter, who advanced to the final round and graciously participated as a delegate since he was already committed to his run for the FL House seat.

After hearing his answers to 100 political issues of the day, I truly believe that Peter is the best man to represent us in the FL House! He is sincere, intelligent, congenial, principled, and a firm supporter of the rights of individuals.

I am confident that Peter Richter would never let specials interests "pull a fast one" on FL citizens, nor will he let the long arm of the government infringe on the rights of small businesses and homeowners.

I read FL legislation - the rights of small businesses and homeowners are legitimate concerns. We need to evict the establishment politicians who owe too many favors to their biggest contributors - we need to replace them with grassroots, sincerely concerned people like Peter Richter.

Peter Richter absolutely has my vote in the FL House race!

UnionPacificGerald writes:

Two years ago this man was a Democrat. I applaud any convert to the cause, but you have to build a reputation as a Republican before you run to be a leader of Republicans. Frankly, I think it bespeaks a bit of overconfidence.

Now, I know critics of my position will say, "but if you only heard him speak" and "he is popular among the people; look at facebook and twitter." Listen to yourselves. Obama was elected on such premises.

Romans837 writes:

What Do I like about Byron Donalds? He's not running because Daddy did. He is not running because he has the money to put cool ads on T.V. He is not running because he has a cool radio voice and got his talking points online. He is not running because he was President of his student council and the led the Young republicans to a win in a debate about the price of Dorito's in the vending machine. Byron Donalds is me! He is you! If you are tired of seeing your liberties stolen from you one-by-one every day. While you work harder and harder for a dollar that is worth less and less. I'm Endorsing Byron Donalds because I know the Man. I know that he has so much more than just the power of the people on his side. Byron is going to Washington to remind the insiders why this Country was created and to educate them on where we are headed if we don't strip this country down, back to the fundamental values found in the constitution. I AM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE!!!!!

UnionPacificGerald writes:

This man was a Democrat two years ago. I applaud whenever a convert comes to see things clearly, but let's not go ahead of ourselves. One must get used to being a Republican before he can lead Republicans.

Now, I know opponents of my position will say things like "you simply have to hear him speak" and "the people really do love him; look at Facebook and Twitter." Listen to yourselves. Obama was elected on these very same credentials.

5thavenuesunshine writes:

in response to dshestokas:

People CHOOSE to follow on Twitter, people CHOOSE to march in Parades, people CHOOSE to vote in straw polls. None of that is based on name recognition from a media career or family political connections. No, Byron Donalds is connecting with people, not political insiders. He and his supporters are onto something.

If you are interested in why there are 7,319 people following Byron on twitter, follow him yourself at: https://twitter.com/ByronDonalds

There are other folks that make choices as well. Each and every one of Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to meet the people of Lehigh Acres today at the largest political gathering in that area. Only Byron cared enough to respect those voters. Maybe the other candidates should be asked why they made that choice.

Um, the reason Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to attend the forum in Lehigh may have something to do with the fact its not in CD 19. Lehigh is CD 17. If Byron wants to campaign state-wide, its his right, but you should not throw rocks at the others for missing the event. With so little time left before the election, I have a feeling most of the other candidates spent the day campaigning where people could actually vote for them.

JoiV writes:

in response to 5thavenuesunshine:

Um, the reason Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to attend the forum in Lehigh may have something to do with the fact its not in CD 19. Lehigh is CD 17. If Byron wants to campaign state-wide, its his right, but you should not throw rocks at the others for missing the event. With so little time left before the election, I have a feeling most of the other candidates spent the day campaigning where people could actually vote for them.

5thavenuesunshine...Is it not true that the votes of EVERY representative in the US House ultimately affect EVERY citizen in the US? I have contributed to campaigns for candidates running in OTHER states because I know that the votes from the representative in their district will affect me. Wouldn't you contribute to someone running against Nancy Pelosi to get her out of the US House after seeing how her poor choices have affected you? Byron is very smart to reach as far as he can. The people in CD17 surely talk to people in CD19. But most of all, I recognize that Byron's concern for all citizens, is very commendable.

ZoeyJoy writes:

in response to JayPaulVonkoffler:

Wow! The rookie is marching on and taking names-Go Byron!!!! A Donalds win would be the sort of tea party triumph that would capture national attention.

Toward that end, he's turned his lack of political pedigree into a positive, gaining traction as "the people's candidate."

People have responded, marching beside him, nearly 100 strong, in the Naples parade. If I had a son I wish he would be like you Byron.

Great Post JayPaulVonKoffler!

ZoeyJoy writes:

in response to Romans837:

What Do I like about Byron Donalds? He's not running because Daddy did. He is not running because he has the money to put cool ads on T.V. He is not running because he has a cool radio voice and got his talking points online. He is not running because he was President of his student council and the led the Young republicans to a win in a debate about the price of Dorito's in the vending machine. Byron Donalds is me! He is you! If you are tired of seeing your liberties stolen from you one-by-one every day. While you work harder and harder for a dollar that is worth less and less. I'm Endorsing Byron Donalds because I know the Man. I know that he has so much more than just the power of the people on his side. Byron is going to Washington to remind the insiders why this Country was created and to educate them on where we are headed if we don't strip this country down, back to the fundamental values found in the constitution. I AM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE!!!!!

Roman! Beautifully said! Byron Donalds IS the Man! So very right!!!

ZoeyJoy writes:

in response to 5thavenuesunshine:

Um, the reason Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to attend the forum in Lehigh may have something to do with the fact its not in CD 19. Lehigh is CD 17. If Byron wants to campaign state-wide, its his right, but you should not throw rocks at the others for missing the event. With so little time left before the election, I have a feeling most of the other candidates spent the day campaigning where people could actually vote for them.

No, sorry 5th - LOTS of Lehigh is in CD 19. Read your map.

PoliticalBear writes:

in response to ConservativeinNaples:

Not so fast ZoeyJoy. I don't think Byron won the straw poll in Cape Coral last week. Actually, I think he finished 4th according to the Fort Myers News Press this morning. Its easy to get sucked into the vortex that is swirling here, but be careful. Byron is a nice guy who gives a nice speech, but he is a newly-minted Republican who has somewhat of an unknown background. Before I get on his bandwagon, I need to know more about who he really is, where he comes from, and exactly why he thinks he is the most qualified to represent me in Congress. His web page is nice and has many constitutional conservative buzz words, but I need more than words - either spoken or on paper - I need to see actions as proof he is ready to represent me.

AMEN!!! Please think before you vote for an unknown
Remember how many were fooled by sweet talking Obama!

PoliticalBear writes:

It is my understanding that Aubuchon has experience in leadership both in the legislature and in business. No other candidate can say that… All the candidates have degrees too but how many have written legislation that balanced a state budget (6 times) and also have made bottom line affecting decisions for a company that employs over 100 people? For all the big talking and campaign promises guys like Trey, Goss (and others) make, the truth is that they have no idea how to take those talking points and turn them into bills and then work them though the process to get them passed.

dshestokas writes:

in response to 5thavenuesunshine:

Um, the reason Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to attend the forum in Lehigh may have something to do with the fact its not in CD 19. Lehigh is CD 17. If Byron wants to campaign state-wide, its his right, but you should not throw rocks at the others for missing the event. With so little time left before the election, I have a feeling most of the other candidates spent the day campaigning where people could actually vote for them.

Probably a good idea to take a look at the district map again. Everything south of Lee Blvd. in Lehigh IS IN DISTRICT 19. More than half of the actual voting population of Lehigh is in District 19. Jim Roach the Democrat running in District 19 was there. About 40,000 people in Lehigh live in District 19. So if the other five guys agree with you, that it's not, I am guessing that should be a disqualifier for the office (not knowing the boundaries).

DavidOsborne writes:

I really enjoy (in a laughable way) reading the comments attacking Byron as an "inexperienced" politician... LOL !! That is WHY so many people ARE supporting him.. You establishment hacks just don't get it do you?

Anyway, as to the writing of bills? That is what staff is for.. All Byron needs to do is tell his staff what he wants and they put it in the legal form which he can then read and see if it says what he wants or not.. any good secretary knows how to turn the bosses "post-it note" into a formal letter for the boss to sign...

dshestokas writes:

Regarding the other candidates and the GOOOH questions: At the Cape Coral Forum, I was among the volunteers that collected questions from the audience. About half the questions posed to the candidates came from the audience, not from GOOOH.

DavidOsborne writes:

in response to dshestokas:

Regarding the other candidates and the GOOOH questions: At the Cape Coral Forum, I was among the volunteers that collected questions from the audience. About half the questions posed to the candidates came from the audience, not from GOOOH.

I find it very ironic that those who are MOST critical of the GOOOH candidate selection process are the ones who have NEVER participated in one.

JoiV writes:

in response to PoliticalBear:

It is my understanding that Aubuchon has experience in leadership both in the legislature and in business. No other candidate can say that… All the candidates have degrees too but how many have written legislation that balanced a state budget (6 times) and also have made bottom line affecting decisions for a company that employs over 100 people? For all the big talking and campaign promises guys like Trey, Goss (and others) make, the truth is that they have no idea how to take those talking points and turn them into bills and then work them though the process to get them passed.

PoliticalBear: That works both ways. Do we want a career politician who knows how to get legislation passed if he just uses it to help his friends? I read the legislation coming out of Congress today - it benefits banks, agricultural giants, energy companies, military vendors, insurance & pharmaceutical companies and the like - at the expense of taxpayers. I'm a business owner and I'm all about the free market. But corporate welfare in the form of subsidies and legislative favors is something I take issue with. I'm not seeing much legislation that actually benefits taxpayers anymore.
The titles are sweet sounding - but the pages inside are horrendous. Aren't you reading the legislation? I know so few people actually do.

Point is, Congress is spending money horribly these days on the backs of the taxpayers - you can't blame the entire deficit on another party. It's important to me that my candidate understands how the entire spectrum of the middle class is being squeezed. Sure, I appreciate business experience and budget experience. But honestly, I'd be happy if all the representatives in Congress today did nothing but roll back legislation for the next year. And maybe they could work on simple solutions like: putting expiration dates on legislation so that the books aren't full of things that only serve as hindrances and complications. They could balance the budgets by actually getting rid of all the special interest subsidies and corporate welfare programs. I love corporations - they make jobs. But I don't understand why they need so much of my money.

What's most important to me is that my Representative has principles and sticks with them. And I'm not saying that your candidate is a bad guy - I just don't remember getting that "I'm here to help you" feeling when I met him.

DavidOsborne writes:

in response to dshestokas:

Probably a good idea to take a look at the district map again. Everything south of Lee Blvd. in Lehigh IS IN DISTRICT 19. More than half of the actual voting population of Lehigh is in District 19. Jim Roach the Democrat running in District 19 was there. About 40,000 people in Lehigh live in District 19. So if the other five guys agree with you, that it's not, I am guessing that should be a disqualifier for the office (not knowing the boundaries).

I live in Tallahassee and with the redistricting I need to refer to the map often. As the Florida leader I feel it is my duty to know the boundary lines of all 27 districts. Honestly, I don't have them all down yet, that is why we have the MAP..

DavidOsborne writes:

in response to Romans837:

What Do I like about Byron Donalds? He's not running because Daddy did. He is not running because he has the money to put cool ads on T.V. He is not running because he has a cool radio voice and got his talking points online. He is not running because he was President of his student council and the led the Young republicans to a win in a debate about the price of Dorito's in the vending machine. Byron Donalds is me! He is you! If you are tired of seeing your liberties stolen from you one-by-one every day. While you work harder and harder for a dollar that is worth less and less. I'm Endorsing Byron Donalds because I know the Man. I know that he has so much more than just the power of the people on his side. Byron is going to Washington to remind the insiders why this Country was created and to educate them on where we are headed if we don't strip this country down, back to the fundamental values found in the constitution. I AM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE!!!!!

BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO.... If there was a LIKE button here... I would definately be hitting it on this post !! :) ICYMI here is the Patriot Proclamation that is spreading like wildfire going viral !! PRINT/SIGN/PUBLISH a copy of your own!

Patriot Proclamation (FOR PUBLIC RELEASE)

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to replace the politicians who have failed to properly govern our nation, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to this action.

We remind all that we still hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created Equal, and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. In order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. However, when those in power become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to replace them, to alter the system by which they are chosen, and to institute a new process that is more likely to secure our Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that processes long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations persist, it is our right and our duty to throw out such leaders, and to provide new guards for our future.

Such has been the patient sufferance of We the American People; and such is now the necessity which compels us to alter the process by which our leaders are chosen. The history of the present and recent politicians is a history of repeated malfeasance and usurpations, all having directly or indirectly established an absolute control over We the People. To prove this, let these facts be submitted to a suffering nation:

DavidOsborne writes:

in response to DavidOsborne:

BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO.... If there was a LIKE button here... I would definately be hitting it on this post !! :) ICYMI here is the Patriot Proclamation that is spreading like wildfire going viral !! PRINT/SIGN/PUBLISH a copy of your own!

Patriot Proclamation (FOR PUBLIC RELEASE)

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to replace the politicians who have failed to properly govern our nation, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to this action.

We remind all that we still hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created Equal, and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. In order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. However, when those in power become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to replace them, to alter the system by which they are chosen, and to institute a new process that is more likely to secure our Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that processes long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations persist, it is our right and our duty to throw out such leaders, and to provide new guards for our future.

Such has been the patient sufferance of We the American People; and such is now the necessity which compels us to alter the process by which our leaders are chosen. The history of the present and recent politicians is a history of repeated malfeasance and usurpations, all having directly or indirectly established an absolute control over We the People. To prove this, let these facts be submitted to a suffering nation:

. The politicians have continuously ignored our Constitution, trampling the rights of the States and the people.
. The politicians have completely destroyed the concept of equality, dividing the nation into countless factions in order to garner political support.
. The politicians have criminally refused fiscal responsibility, incurring debts and obligations designed to enslave our posterity in the cruelest of ways.
. The politicians have repeatedly failed our children by blindly supporting a failing, and in places, inept education system.
. The politicians have blatantly abused our citizens with a ridiculously complex and intrusive tax code.
. The politicians have consistently championed political correctness instead of making the difficult decisions that wisdom demands.
. The politicians have cunningly rigged the election process so that the vast majority of incumbents are re-elected despite an overwhelming disapproval
of their work.
. Too many politicians have routinely ignored our Creator.

We have warned them from time to time, with correspondence of every kind, but they have been deaf to the voice of reason. We must, therefore, rally the members of this nation and peacefully replace those who have ashamedly usurped power that belongs to the States and the people.

We, therefore, as dutiful spokesmen for citizens all across America, hereby request that every patriot in this country join the GOOOH movement and help select a new slate of independent citizen representatives who will serve the people of their district.

For the good of this nation, and for the future of all who will follow, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence, we respectfully sign this Proclamation and mutually pledge to our fellow countrymen our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

16 JULY 2011
_______________________________
David Charles Osborne Print SIGN Your Name Here

4126 Chelmsford Rd …. And MAIL me a copy
Tallahassee, Florida 32309
(850) 933-8511
http://www.BIO.DavidOsborne.net

HerefordFL writes:

I cannot help but notice the similarities between Donalds and Obama. From the family situation, the long road to his present place (prior Democrat), and coming from nowhere to run for a seat in Congress? Maybe the Tea Party has taken him in for their own motives but could he not start with a city or county position and prove his worth and confidence before asking people to make him one of 435? I think I will look to the other candidates who have proven themselves as business owners or with prior elected experience. I believe in many of the Tea Party's positions but they are asking us to trust them on a big decision. It did not work out when the Chicago machine tried it and the Naples machine is just as questionable. I also notice the local media is really helping him out with stories; another similarity with Obama. I do not want anyone the papers see as a good candidate...

volochine writes:

Too funny!....Divine Providence? I will NOT vote for a Allen West wannabee. At least, Mr. West served his country in the military, and was not evicted twice and divorced.

I hope Mr. Batten does an article like this on every candidate before the primary.

We need republicans who will vote for Simpson-Bowles. Not accuse democrats of being communists.

Can't wait for your next tea-party paid article, Brent.

Don't single out the black man.

CarpeVeritas writes:

in response to PoliticalBear:

It is my understanding that Aubuchon has experience in leadership both in the legislature and in business. No other candidate can say that… All the candidates have degrees too but how many have written legislation that balanced a state budget (6 times) and also have made bottom line affecting decisions for a company that employs over 100 people? For all the big talking and campaign promises guys like Trey, Goss (and others) make, the truth is that they have no idea how to take those talking points and turn them into bills and then work them though the process to get them passed.

I am hardly a tea party supporter, but I too am leaning toward Aubuchon. PoliticalBear makes a telling point when he writes that experience in turning slogans into legislation should be a Job Requirement for any congressmen.

I am tired of the "anyone but someone with experience" movement. Floridians have tried that already.

If I hire a warehouse manager, I'd like for him to have worked in a warehouse before. Same, Same.

BigConservativeVoice writes:

Mr. Radel may say that he has done three debates and that is enough. The fact is he does not want to answer the tough character questions.

The man refuses to produce documentation that he was not the one who created the sexually demeaning domain names of Spanish women. Has the press asked him why he first stated he started Trey Enterprises during the dot com boom when the records show he started it in 2005? Has the press asked why in a recent editorial board interview he stated he started it in the late 1990's? Has the press asked why he did not list Trey Enterprises on his campaign website? Has the press asked him why the names were purchased in 2005 and renewed every year until 2011? Character matters people. Less Radel turns into another John Edwards or Bill Clinton we should ask these questions.

I notices that so called charity for disabled veterans is no longer active. Let me rephrase that, the charity provided one handicap ramp for a deserving veteran and then did nothing but collect money. It expired in June and was not renewed and the website has been shut down. Has the press asked this man why it lasted only a year? Have the press asked him why it was established just a month after he purchased candidate domain names? Have the press asked him if the charity was a sham to garner positive press for himself and one of his big donors?

Have the press asked him about his so called "publishing business" that he owned for ten months and then sold it in a bundle with two other small meaningless publications? This is a successful business?

Seems to me there are a lot of questions to ask Mr. Radel but there is not a reporter in southwest Florida willing to ask them. I ask you this simple question. If this were Governor Scott would you give him a pass on the same issues? Of course not so why give them to Mr. Radel?

PoliticalBear writes:

in response to JoiV:

PoliticalBear: That works both ways. Do we want a career politician who knows how to get legislation passed if he just uses it to help his friends? I read the legislation coming out of Congress today - it benefits banks, agricultural giants, energy companies, military vendors, insurance & pharmaceutical companies and the like - at the expense of taxpayers. I'm a business owner and I'm all about the free market. But corporate welfare in the form of subsidies and legislative favors is something I take issue with. I'm not seeing much legislation that actually benefits taxpayers anymore.
The titles are sweet sounding - but the pages inside are horrendous. Aren't you reading the legislation? I know so few people actually do.

Point is, Congress is spending money horribly these days on the backs of the taxpayers - you can't blame the entire deficit on another party. It's important to me that my candidate understands how the entire spectrum of the middle class is being squeezed. Sure, I appreciate business experience and budget experience. But honestly, I'd be happy if all the representatives in Congress today did nothing but roll back legislation for the next year. And maybe they could work on simple solutions like: putting expiration dates on legislation so that the books aren't full of things that only serve as hindrances and complications. They could balance the budgets by actually getting rid of all the special interest subsidies and corporate welfare programs. I love corporations - they make jobs. But I don't understand why they need so much of my money.

What's most important to me is that my Representative has principles and sticks with them. And I'm not saying that your candidate is a bad guy - I just don't remember getting that "I'm here to help you" feeling when I met him.

JoiV: Mr. Aubuchon is far from a career politician! Not only does he run a successful business in Southwest Florida - - He strongly believes in term limits!! Really believes in term limits!! And, that's not a line in a stump speech playing to the crowds -- Here is his website...http://www.garyaubuchon.com/

forliberty writes:

Byron Donalds is a gift to voters; don't ignore it! He's a fantastic candidate and a candidate for the people. No big business backing Byron, just grassroots people.

JoiV writes:

PoliticalBear: Thank you for your response. I'm in marketing, so a website wouldn't carry enough weight to sway me. Candid responses to unexpected questions are my favorite tool for evaluating candidates. I would certainly be happy to listen closer to what Mr. Aubuchon has to say. The only problem is, I'm out of town and can't attend any meet and greets or forums right now. But I will be watching the forum live online at www.Leap2Liberty.com. Will Mr. Aubuchon be participating in that?

nstinks writes:

I've personally met with all of the Republican candidates on many occasions.

All of them are passionate about American exceptionalism, have unique qualifications as a result of varied backgrounds, and would serve SW Florida with the skills necessary for being a committed and functional elected representative.

All have said they do not intend making a career out of politics and believe in term limits.

Byron Donalds is the real deal.

Believe Brent Batten when he says, "Donalds downplays race as a factor in his success."

And believe Byron Donalds when he says,

"I think conservatives are longing for just a couple of things," he said. "Somebody who is going to be unapologetic about conservatism and someone who can articulate their ideas."

freedomsailor writes:

Donalds is now a politician. I don't trust any politician!

GeorgeMiller writes:

in response to JoiV:

PoliticalBear: Thank you for your response. I'm in marketing, so a website wouldn't carry enough weight to sway me. Candid responses to unexpected questions are my favorite tool for evaluating candidates. I would certainly be happy to listen closer to what Mr. Aubuchon has to say. The only problem is, I'm out of town and can't attend any meet and greets or forums right now. But I will be watching the forum live online at www.Leap2Liberty.com. Will Mr. Aubuchon be participating in that?

Watch Aubuchon's News Press Editorial Board interview. He lies through his teeth about why he decided to go back on his word to Lee Memorial. This is the Chinese Drywall builder who is leveraged to the hilt financially. Not the kind of guy I want handling the books in DC.

reddragon writes:

Can someone please do a spreadsheet on the candidates personal achievements. I do not beleave some of these candidates are qualified to run a hot dog shop let alone represent in congress.

info_is_key writes:

in response to JoiV:

PoliticalBear: Thank you for your response. I'm in marketing, so a website wouldn't carry enough weight to sway me. Candid responses to unexpected questions are my favorite tool for evaluating candidates. I would certainly be happy to listen closer to what Mr. Aubuchon has to say. The only problem is, I'm out of town and can't attend any meet and greets or forums right now. But I will be watching the forum live online at www.Leap2Liberty.com. Will Mr. Aubuchon be participating in that?

JoiV: There is a 4 part interview here with Rep. Aubuchon which should provide you with some good information to help in your decision.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-wLH5...

reallifeswfla writes:

Donalds seems capable as a candidate.
But his stance on favoring offshore drilling off the Naples Coast is worrisome.
Our SWFLA economy is dependent on tourism, no matter what.
We don't need oil rigs and filthy beaches.
There are already millions of acres of leases in the Gulf that haven't been explored and drilled.
No need to open our coast.
His personal life is concerning also with the divorces and eviction.
We need a man of personal integrity.
I wonder if he has it?

info_is_key writes:

in response to PoliticalBear:

It is my understanding that Aubuchon has experience in leadership both in the legislature and in business. No other candidate can say that… All the candidates have degrees too but how many have written legislation that balanced a state budget (6 times) and also have made bottom line affecting decisions for a company that employs over 100 people? For all the big talking and campaign promises guys like Trey, Goss (and others) make, the truth is that they have no idea how to take those talking points and turn them into bills and then work them though the process to get them passed.

Well stated PoliticalBear. Woodrow Wilson said "...it is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in it's committee rooms is Congress at work". Do you want to vote for the person who can score the most radio time, or the person who will be at their desk, everyday, working hard for you?

Captian_Cataracts writes:

The Tea Party had to cancel their participation in the parade.

One was sick & the other refused to march alone.

JoiV writes:

All potential legislators need to learn something about oil: it doesn't have to be the only game in town. Canada has wisely opened opportunities for farmers to grow industrial hemp and it's been a huge economic success (for the farmers, not for Monsanto). Note: you could smoke a whole field of industrial hemp and never even catch a buzz - it's not a drug, it's just a weed. And that's the problem - Agri giants can't profit off it it. Hemp is a super efficient source of fuel (and many other things like food & clothing), Ford planned to have all cars run on it someday, it can be grown anywhere and is very environmentally friendly. Why don't we grow it in the US? Well, because there is no bio-seed for it - no patents to be had on it, and it would put a serious dent in the sales of Monsanto's cash cow: GMO corn for ethanol production. Of course, if you ask a legislator why industrial hemp fields are outlawed, they're likely to tell you it's because marijuana is illegal. Next time, let them know that you know that hemp is not the same as marijuana and if DEA agents can't tell the difference then there is something really wrong in the DEA. They must be smoking their confiscated goods.

It's not rocket science - you just have to read the legislation, ask some questions, seek some answers and follow the money. Our government and our citizens are being used by those who can buy the most influence to manufacture the legislation they need to fuel their agendas.

Roach_Jim writes:

in response to dshestokas:

People CHOOSE to follow on Twitter, people CHOOSE to march in Parades, people CHOOSE to vote in straw polls. None of that is based on name recognition from a media career or family political connections. No, Byron Donalds is connecting with people, not political insiders. He and his supporters are onto something.

If you are interested in why there are 7,319 people following Byron on twitter, follow him yourself at: https://twitter.com/ByronDonalds

There are other folks that make choices as well. Each and every one of Byron's opponents CHOSE NOT to meet the people of Lehigh Acres today at the largest political gathering in that area. Only Byron cared enough to respect those voters. Maybe the other candidates should be asked why they made that choice.

Dave, Technically, I am Byron's opponent after the primary. I was at the Lehigh Acres event and spoke right after Byron. Too bad the other candidates didn't show up. Lehigh Acres voters will remember who cares.

PoliticalBear writes:

OK...now I am just plain upset.Darn it -- Brett at least have the integrity to print the real results of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee Straw Poll. You make it seem like it was a blow out.( see below) Far from it! The NDN is acting like a shill for Byron! Please --be more honest in your 'reporting' ENOUGH ALREADY!!

The final vote was:

Byron 35
Gary 34
Chauncey 20
Trey 17
Kreegel 10
Davidow 0

brown writes:

Do not vote for Trey. He brags about his U.S. Forces non-profit but the website has been shut-down for 6 months. Plus, John Mountz (Naples radio programmer implied Friday that Trey will be back on the radio after the August primary). Looks a like forecast that Trey has lost.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features