Florida Republican U.S. House Representative Trey Radel resigned from his elective office effective on the evening of Monday, January 27, 2014 after leaving a drug rehab program and stating, "Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences. While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I call home, Southwest Florida." In late 2013, Radel was arrested in Washington, D.C. for buying cocaine from an undercover police officer. Governor Rick Scott is expected to call for and schedule a special election to fill the now empty Congressional District 19.
Fortunately for the Libertarian Party of Florida, Libertarian Ray Netherwood had already filed to run against Radel in the November, 2014 elections and has been running an effective campaign with his campaign material all over the district. Netherwoods' issues should resonate with voters in Congressional District 19 as he is strong on fiscal responsibility and equally strong on upholding individual freedom. April Freeman is the only Democrat fearless enough to have filed in the heavily Republican district and three Republicans are in the race as well. Others may begin to file to run as well as things heat up.
Netherwood is betting the district has had enough of the tax and spend Republicans of times past and will give him serious consideration in the voting booth, whether that is in a special election or during the regularly scheduled general election this November. The district is somewhat hard to gauge as prior to redistricting District 19 was on the East Coast of Florida and heavily Democratic. After redistricting it encompasses most of Lee and Collier counties on the West Coast of Florida and is heavily Republican. Netherwood will need district 19 voters to do serious research on the candidates rather than simply vote straight down the line for Republicans.
In an unofficial online poll conducted by the well respected and locally well followed News-Press.com, Ray Netherwood is currently fourth nudging ahead of Connie Mack IV. The poll has a total of ten potential candidates.
***UPDATE*** As of 7:00 p.m. and 1,800 online votes, Netherwood is in second place in the News-Press.com poll behind April Freeman who is only 19 votes away.