FORT MYERS — Former corporate chief executive Curt Clawson beat two veteran state politicians to claim the Republican nomination for the congressional seat vacated by Trey Radel.
Radel resigned earlier this year after pleading guilty to a charge of cocaine possession. Clawson portrayed himself as a political outsider, launching his campaign with a high-profile television ad on Super Bowl Sunday.
Clawson, the former CEO of Hayes Lemmerz International, won 38.25% of the vote in Tuesday's special election primary contest in the heavily Republican areas of Lee and Collier counties. He outpaced State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (25.68% of the vote), State Rep. Paige Kreegel (25.3%) and Michael Dreikorn (10.77%), according to the tally posted by the Florida Department of State's Division of Elections.
Voter turnout in Collier County was 37.42% of registered Republicans and in Lee it was 33.37%. A total of 70,211 ballots were cast.
Clawson will face Democrat April Freeman in the general election on June 24.