Yet Another SW Florida Super-PAC

A third super-political action committee is intervening in a special Republican House primary election later this month in southwestern Florida.

The newest group, A Bright Future, is running an ad that praises Paige Kreegel, a doctor and former state representative, and attacks the business record of Curt Clawson, who’s also running in the April 22 primary in the vacant 19th District.

“Paige Kreegel has served his patients, his family and his community. Curt Clawson has only served himself,” a narrator says in the ad, which Kantar Media’s CMAG first tracked last night on the CBS affiliate in Fort Myers.

A Bright Future filed organizing papers March 27 with the Federal Election Commission. A telephone message left for Michael Price of Estero, who’s identified on FEC documents as the super-PAC’s custodian of records, wasn’t immediately returned. The super-PAC didn’t return an e-mail March 30 seeking information about its purpose.

A Bright Future is the second super-political action committee backing Kreegel, who’s also getting help from Values are Vital, which is funded by at least $1 million from two people who donated to Kreegel’s 2012 campaign for Congress.

Another super-PAC, Liberty and Leadership Fund, is running an ad attacking Kreegel and Clawson and promoting state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, the third major Republican candidate, as “our conservative champion.”

“Will Clawson and Kreegel do anything, anything, to beat this woman?” a female narrator says at the end of that ad.

Clawson, the former CEO of Hayes Lemmerz International Inc., which designs and manufactures steel and aluminum wheels, appears in one of his TV spots to decry “negative ads” and to say he “made the tough choices” as a businessman and will do the same in Washington.

Candidates and super-PACs in Florida’s 19th together ran ads 4,375 times through yesterday, CMAG data show. Clawson’s campaign led with 17 ads that have run 1,997 times, followed by Values are Vital’s four ads airing 878 times and Benacquisto’s four ads running 768 times, according to CMAG. Liberty and Leadership Fund’s three spots ran 591 times and Kreegel’s ad has aired 141 times.

Florida’s 19th, which takes in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Naples, is so strongly Republican-leaning that the winner of the Republican primary will be a prohibitive favorite in the June 24 special election. Candidates and committees active in the primary will file campaign fundraising reports by April 10.

Republican Trey Radel resigned in January, midway through his first term, after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge.




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