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District 19 ballot firms up as qualifying closes

Supervisor of elections encourages mail ballots for Republican Primary on April 22

March 5, 2014
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( ) , Pine Island Eagle

Those who had aspirations of filling the District 19 congressional seat vacated by Trey Radel had four hours on Wednesday morning to officially qualify for the ballot.

And when it was over, there were four Republican candidates looking to win a GOP primary, one Democrat and two others qualified for the special election to fill that House seat for little more than six months.

State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Curt Clawson, former state representative Paige Kreegel and Michael Dreikorn qualified as Republican candidates.

Gerald Gallagher, who had been listed as an "active" candidate, did not file.

Meanwhile, April Freeman, who qualified as a Democrat, has her party's nomination.

"While the Republicans are straightening out their own affairs, I will be listening to Southwest Floridians, their problems, concerns, their hopes, and their ideas," Freeman said in a statement Thursday.

Timothy Rossano qualified as a write-in candidate and Ray Netherwood qualified as a Libertarian Party of Florida candidate.

"Being a Libertarian to me means it's an extra uphill battle," Netherwood said. "I won't accept union or corporate donations, so I need individual donors to step up or groups whose members have joined voluntarily.

"The upside is that Libertarian principles are clearly stated and my positions



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