NAPLES — Prominent Naples businessman, philanthropist and Republican political donor Francis Rooney, former Ambassador to The Holy See and CEO of Rooney Holdings, will run for Congress.
Rooney seeks the District 19 seat being vacated by U.S. Rep Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs. Clawson recently announced he will not run for re-election. Chauncey Goss, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the seat in 2012, has also announced he will run for District 19, which stretches from Marco Island to Fort Myers.
“I have given much thought to public service and how I could help others by making use of my successful record in business, my life-long commitment to conservative values and my deep involvement in community causes,” Rooney says in a statement. “Washington is broken, and I have the skills and experience needed to challenge the status quo, bring people together and get things done.”
Rooney Holdings is the parent company for Manhattan Construction, the largest builder in the region, with $1.37 billion in revenues in 2015. The firm has dual headquarters in Naples and Tulsa, Okla. Current projects include a 120-unit condo tower in Naples and renovations and improvements at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Past projects include 1350 Main Street in downtown Sarasota; multiple buildings at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers; and the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas.
Rooney has had other business interests in the region, including a previous investing in Naples-based Bank of Florida Corp., where he was the largest shareholder. Regulators shuttered the bank holding company's three bank subsidiaries in 2010, during a wave a of recession-era closures.
A onetime trustee of the Naples Winter Wine Fest, Rooney has also been on the board of Naples Community Hospital. On the political, side Rooney has given money to multiple local and national candidates, including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Rooney is not related to U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, whose district includes parts of Sarasota.