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Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans have spent millions ahead of Tuesday’s special primary to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. — and the 19th District television airwaves show it.  

Three of Radel’s potential successors boast at least $1 million in airtime behind each of their efforts — both from their own campaigns and outside groups boosting them. It’s a staggering number for an otherwise under-the-radar primary in a special election.  

The spending leader is businessman Curt Clawson, who has loaned $2.65 million of his own funds to his campaign, according to his most recent campaign fundraising report . But outside groups have helped two other GOP candidates, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, stay in the game.  

Whomever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday is all but certain to carry the seat in the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.  

Here’s a look at how much campaigns and outside groups have spent on television in the race, according to two GOP media buying sources monitoring the race. Numbers are approximated. Candidate Campaign Spending on TV:  Benacquisto campaign: $725,000  

Clawson campaign: $1.5-$1.65 million  

Kreegel campaign: $200,000-$210,000  

Outside Groups and Super PACs on TV: Values Are Vital, a pro-Kreegel super PAC: $790,000-$824,000  

A Brighter Future, a pro-Kreegel Super PAC: $50,00-$65,000  

Liberty & Leadership: a pro-Benacquisto super PAC: $534,000-$565,000  

Tea Party Express, supporting Clawson: $90,000-$100,000  

TV totals: Clawson and his supporters: $1.75 million  

Benacquisto and her supporters: $1.3 million  

Kreegel and his supporters:  $1.1 million

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Photos of the week ending December 8, 2023