Crowded race for Connie Mack's congressional seat presents challenges

The following Republicans are running for the U.S. District 14 seat being vacated by Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers:

Gary Aubuchon, Venice

Joseph Asher Davidow, Naples

Byron Donalds, Naples

Chauncey Goss, Sanibel Island

Paige Vanier Kreegel, Port Charlotte

Brian Owens, Naples

Trey Radel, Fort Myers

Timothy John Rossano, Fort Myers

Christopher Key Sandy, Bonita Springs

John W. Sawyer III, Fort Myers

Lee James Titchworth, Cape Coral

The following Democrats are running for the U.S. District 14 seat being vacated by Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers:

James Lloyd Roach, Cape Coral

The following candidates with no party affiliation are running for the U.S. District 14 seat being vacated by Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers:

Thomas E. Scherer, Estero

Brandon Matthew Smith, Naples

A crowded Congressional race has candidates battling for elbow room to make sure their message is heard.

With just more than three months before the August 14 primary, some election experts said candidates with name recognition and a healthy war chest are the ones who will likely succeed in a jam-packed race.

Fourteen candidates — 11 Republicans, one Democrat and two with no party affiliation — are vying to replace U.S. Congressman Connie Mack, who gave up his seat to run for Senate. The winner of the Republican primary could garner only 10 percent of the vote.

"It creates such a challenging dynamic. There's so many people in the mix, and the winner comes away with a small percentage of the vote," said John Knowles, an elections expert and spokesman at Ave Maria School of Law. "What you're seeing at this stage in the campaign is everyone is trying to make the case that they stand out from the pack. You try to make the case why you're the one."

That might mean doing anything from touting prior experience in elected office to private sector accomplishments or boasting about being a Washington outsider to using experience as a Beltway insider to their advantage.

But distinguishing oneself from the pack may not be enough, said Peter Bergerson, a political-science professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. Bergerson said it will take three charteristics — experience, name recognition and organization — for one of the 11 to pull ahead come election day.

"One of the things that I think is going to make a difference is name recognition and the role of political elites," he said.

Endorsements will likely be important as voters try to narrow the field. Bergerson said endorsements from lifelong party members or local elected officials, like county commissioners, will be "one of the things to watch closely" as election day approaches.

Name recognition will also be important, especially Bergerson said when there's nearly a dozen candidates on the ballot. Still, he said, that doesn't mean the person with the most money, experience or name recognition will necessarily come out on top.

"My estimation is it's going to be as close as the Kentucky Derby was on Saturday," he said. "You may have someone who comes from close to the middle of the pack ... two of the candidates may split the vote and a third may come across the finish line."

And crossing the finish line just means getting the most votes come August 14, said Timothy Durham, Collier County's deputy chief election supervisor.

No runoff will be held and Durham said whoever "garners the most votes" in August will move on to the November election.

The same rules apply to the November election where the winner of the Republican primary will face a Democrat and two candidates running with no party affiliation.

Both Bergerson and Knowles said the crowded Republican field likely won't be a benefit to the either the Democrat or no party affiliation candidates either. Despite a myriad Republicans to choose from, both men said the congressional district is still overwhelmingly Republican and a candidate who isn't a Republican will likely have little chance of winning the general election.

"The Democratic candidate is hopeful and earnest, but (being) hopeful and earnest doesn't win the election," Bergerson said.

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Comments » 34

nightranger writes:

My vote goes to Byron Donalds..

upagain writes:

Anyone but Trey Radel

staghorn writes:

never trust a republican©

Victoria347 writes:

Who are these guys that don't even live near us, Arbichan in Venice?!?!? and Kreegel in Port Charlotte. Isn't that like near Tampa.

donkeydrone writes:

Never trust a democrat!!!!

ResidentofNaples writes:

My vote is for Byron Donalds... hope people don't go for Trey Radel just because of name recognition.

SWFLUSMC writes:

Gary Aubuchon has proved himself as a business owner, in the State House, and has the experience to provide great representation in Congress. The rest are names of people who want a job, fame, or both. We already have a President that had no experience, we do not need the same in District 14. If they want to get into politics start with something local and learn the basics...

Crackroots writes:

in response to Victoria347:

Who are these guys that don't even live near us, Arbichan in Venice?!?!? and Kreegel in Port Charlotte. Isn't that like near Tampa.

Aubuchon is from Cape Coral which is no where near venice. Just an FYI. Apparently you failed geography in school. Aubuchon is the right choice.

CorneliusMcGillicuddy writes:

Such valuable insight from an "election expert." Either he's good at division, campaign common sense (i.e. "...they stand out from the pack. You try to make the case why you're the one" -- isn't that every campaign?) or this guy just wants to get his name in the paper. Worthless.

miamia writes:

in response to nightranger:

My vote goes to Byron Donalds..

I agree with you because I met this very nice conservative gentleman at a Republican Woman's Meeting and he spoke well and seems intelligent too.

Kelseychaos writes:

Byron Donalds is the real deal. Smart, articulate and a strong vision. I have seen him speak twice and He certainly stands out against the others. No political theater or cliches. At the Forum in Naples he didn't get up and recite a planned speech... He just really spoke to us!

SandnSurf writes:

My vote is going to Joe Davidow. If you want more information on him you can visit his website at http://www.josephdavidow.com/main

bananas8187 writes:

in response to Crackroots:

Aubuchon is from Cape Coral which is no where near venice. Just an FYI. Apparently you failed geography in school. Aubuchon is the right choice.

At least these people all seem to be from somewhere in Florida, unlike California Boy we've been stuck with for way too long.

John_Q_Public writes:

Wonderful, 14 hypocrites who want to expand government (as they see fit) to choose from instead of the normal 2.

ZoeyJoy writes:

We keep hearing how the money and the name will win the day, but Byron Donalds www.byrondonalds.com keeps coming up with the straw poll votes, with the volunteer support and the feet on the street.

Donalds is impressive. His thoughts are cohesive and actually quite profound. What got me was when he said "If you do what you have always done, you will be where you will always been."

Well, the way this country is running with special interests, big business, Unions, Occupiers, civil unrest, "wrong direction" polls, and the sheer numbers of new hire IRS agents in this administration - I don't think we are where we want to be as a nation.

Byron is right, we are losing our sovereignty. It is we the people who are supposed to reign supreme, the guys we elect are supposed to simply represent our desires. It isn't that way anymore. Government has gone wild. The DoD is telling our congressman that they will "inform" of them of military action. It's time to end the outrage. It's time to do what we haven't done and elect the people's candidate.

Byron Donalds was selected by GoooH as the people's choice. He literally competed, in a lengthy and exact process against 300 other citizens vying for the title. He was selected because he is solid. He is a fair tax candidate, believing that we must end the era where government gets your hard earned money before you see a dime. He is constitutional, he believes that as a foundation to our founding and our government, it is NOT a living and breathing document that can be changed at whim to meet a particular party in power's political needs of the day. What happens if the foundation of your home is changed? It is discredited, condemned and no longer meets your needs.

Donalds is a "do what works" candidate. He has solid ideas, solid points and he would protect our interests in CD 14/19.

Look him up. Check him out. He is making waves and he should be! He's right! He is even winning over democrat voters and independents because he is simply CORRECT on the issues. 80% of the people believe in 80% of the same issues. Stay there - in that space and get er done! Bring our country back to balance!

Vote Byron Donalds!

RickScott writes:

in response to upagain:

Anyone but Trey Radel

yep ditto.

iluvourcountry writes:

Byron Donalds is the real deal! Our country is in a tail spin because of the career politicians. Voters need to be informed and educated on the issues of what makes this country great! Byron's landslide victories at the past forums is evidence that his message is resonating throughout Lee and Collier counties. Byron is a man of integrity and passion and this is what we need in Washington. Voting for the "experienced" one or for the "most popular" is why our country is in trouble. Time to change that! Voting for Byron Donalds is a great start to getting our country back on track!

sgtbarrett writes:

in response to Victoria347:

Who are these guys that don't even live near us, Arbichan in Venice?!?!? and Kreegel in Port Charlotte. Isn't that like near Tampa.

Good point!

BYRON DONALDS actually lives in the district! North Naples!

sgtbarrett writes:

in response to nightranger:

My vote goes to Byron Donalds..

Amen to that!

GO BYRON DONALDS!!

JRWE5270 writes:

I want a rep who is not a career politician, who doesn't take "special interest" money, who is not part of the "political elite." I want Byron Donalds.

carol0936 writes:

in response to RickScott:

yep ditto.

I believe, with so many candidates in the race, the winner will be a real standout individual. He will capture the imagination of voters by articulating a positive and inspirational vision for our Country. That man is Byron Donalds.

Sheri1968 writes:

I've had several opportunities to speak with Byron Donalds and he definitely IS the real deal. He has my vote.

See for yourself...
www.byrondonalds.com

CCPS-Buddy writes:

I think that from what I have heard him say in the forums, Byron Donalds holds most closely to what I believe.

But the real stinger is the generous substance of his answers. It's not just fluff, he actually seems to have personal knowledge of the financial issues we are faced with. And he never needs a teleprompter... LOL!!

Byron is the one I think I will vote for.

guidogato#258979 writes:

I heard Byron Donalds speak at one of the forums, and he was by far the most conservative with a real vision for our country and an understanding of the problems that we are facing.

BigConservativeVoice writes:

Well I see the GOOOH people are out in force today. Bryon Donald GOOOH candidate suck up.

BORNINUSA writes:

Every individual has the opportunity to learn what each candidate stands for through interviews,websites and the many public forums.
I have met most of the candidates and attended the forums to decide which of the candidates best represents my beliefs. Byron Donalds stands out as the person for the job. He has lived the American dream of success through hard work, selflessly shares himself with others, and believes in people taking responsibility for themselves. His Vision to Preserve America can be viewed at http://byrondonalds.com/vision.html.
It is time well spent; Byron Donalds has what it takes to do the job!

John_Galt writes:

Whatever you do, don't click on this link to learn about State Rep Passidomo's voting record. Don't do it. You might learn something you don't want to know about our "Republican" legislator.

http://www.passidomo.com

Vote Peter Richter for State Rep! End the two party stranglehold.

reddragon writes:

Give me a candidate who is successful as an individual business man or women. Someone who does not need the money or the glory. Someone who has put there time in doing other things in the community and yes experience at some other form of goverment before being sent to congress. Experience in life and business is a must and if you dont think so you are a fool. Would you hire someone for a important job if they do not have a resume to back it up?

nightranger writes:

LOOKS LIKE I CALLED IT !!

miamia writes:

in response to reddragon:

Give me a candidate who is successful as an individual business man or women. Someone who does not need the money or the glory. Someone who has put there time in doing other things in the community and yes experience at some other form of goverment before being sent to congress. Experience in life and business is a must and if you dont think so you are a fool. Would you hire someone for a important job if they do not have a resume to back it up?

Look who preceded all these candidates for congress. Connie Mack and I doubt his previous position at "Hooters" is what got him elected.

He won strictly on his father's name who was a senator before Bill Nelson. Wonder if he'll go back to "Hooters" when he loses his race for United States Senator from Florida!

If our electorate is s----- enough to vote for Connie Mack just on the name, I'm going to be very disappointed!

reddragon writes:

in response to miamia:

Look who preceded all these candidates for congress. Connie Mack and I doubt his previous position at "Hooters" is what got him elected.

He won strictly on his father's name who was a senator before Bill Nelson. Wonder if he'll go back to "Hooters" when he loses his race for United States Senator from Florida!

If our electorate is s----- enough to vote for Connie Mack just on the name, I'm going to be very disappointed!

I am not saying Mack was a great choice for congressman. What I am saying is we are electing a representative for our district and everyone needs to take a look at personel accomplishments of the individual candidates. And if that candidate has no success in business and has not shown leadership skills in their community in some form of public service they most likely are not the right candidate. You are getting a true career politician looking for a place to hang their hat and a great pension. We need to get rid of these congressional pensions.

EAL writes:

in response to John_Q_Public:

Wonderful, 14 hypocrites who want to expand government (as they see fit) to choose from instead of the normal 2.

To bad for you that you've made such a broad and useless comment such as that.If you heard any of them you would not insult such a broad spectrum of intelligent human beings that are each trying to change the disgraceful way our country has declined. They are trying to do somthing. Good for them!!!! What are you doing to help us?? If I where a betting person, I would guess nothing!!!

CarpeVeritas writes:

in response to upagain:

Anyone but Trey Radel

At first I thought Trey Radel was patronizing his radio audience with simple-minded babble.

Then I realized all he possesses is simple-minded babble. Coupled with an unprincipled obsession for power, Radel is a menace.

ANYONE BUT RADEL.

staghorn writes:

Ooops. Connie Mack mistakenly misspends tax money on penny-plan pitch to save tax money

Taxpayer-funded mailers highlighting Rep. Connie Mack's "penny plan" -- a proposal he's also pitching as a Senate candidate -- are landing in mailboxes outside the congressman's district, an apparent violation of House rules. So far, copies have been reported in the Hillsborough County communities Odessa and Lithia as well as Sarasota and Coral Gables.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedp...

never trust a republican©

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