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Kreegel looking to November; Fla. representative faces challenger in general too

By Staff | Aug 28, 2008

State Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, said he is looking to the future and the general election in November after defeating Keith Richter in the Aug. 26 primary.

“The real election is ahead,” Kreegel said.

He will face Judy Juliano of Punta Gorda, a nurse administrator who works at Charlotte Regional Hospital. Kreegel is a physician but the two have never worked together, he said. And he said he has met her only one time.

Richter’s bid to defeat the two-term state representative may have gone down in defeat, but he said he plans to run again for the seat in 2010.

Term limits would cause Kreegel to leave office two years later, if he won in that election.

According to state election return figures, Kreegel received 8,673 or 70 percent of the vote while Richter received 3,709 votes or 30 percent.

Richter, who owns his own computer sales and repair business in Lehigh Acres, said he walked and spoke to folks at 500 homes in Desoto County and thought he would have done better there, but blamed the flooding conditions from Tropical Storm Fay for what he said was a lower voter turnout.

Kreegel’s district, District 72, covers parts of Lee County, including areas in Lehigh and North Fort Myers, Desoto County and most of Charlotte County.

“I felt happy to get more than 4,000 votes and 30 percent of the total,” Richter said.

He was picking up political signs Wednesday all over the district, having begun early in the morning in Charlotte County.

“I’m on Sunshine Boulevard now,” he said Wednesday afternoon, picking up signs.

Code enforcement officials will start picking up unclaimed signs left standing on Tuesday after Labor Day. Politicians are given a few days to collect their signs.

Richter said he was saving his 150 signs for his next run for the office in two years.

“I paid $400 for them and they don’t have a date on them, so I can use them again,” he said.

Richter noted that the Census figures in two years will have changed and the 72nd District boundary lines will likely change, giving him more of an advantage.

“I feel good about what I got since Mr. Kreegel didn’t show up at any of the political forums, except for one in Charlotte County,” Richter said.

Kreegel said he has not had the time really to examine the voting numbers by precinct. Instead, he said he was looking forward to the election in November.

“That’s what I am calling the ‘real election,'” Kreegel said, indicating he considered Juliano a formable candidate.

Richter said he has learned the lesson of being a politician.

“I learned that it is more work than people think it is and that is money you get, not the effort you put out. I received small amounts of contributions from supports from $25 to $50 a pop,” Richter said.

Kreegel said he was pleased with his victory over Richter.

“I’m very pleased. I have worked for the people for four years in Tallahassee and I have worked very hard,” he said.