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Radel cruises to victory for Mack’s old seat

By Staff | Nov 7, 2012

A few months ago, Trey Radel was known as that former reporter who had a conservative morning radio show.

Today, he is a United States Congressman in Florida’s 19th District after the Republican cruised to a comfortable victory over Democrat Jim Roach Tuesday night for the seat previously occupied by Connie Mack IV.

In August, Radel scored an upset win in a six-man race for the Republican nomination that included two current state legislators. And in an area that has been predominantly Republican, that made Tuesday’s vote almost anticlimactic.

Radel took 79,694 votes, or 58.7 percent, to 53,093 votes, or 39.1 percent, for Roach. Brandon Smith was third with 2.3 percent (3,070 votes).

Still, Roach was happy how things went.

“To do as well as I did with no outside support and being outspent 10 to 1, I’m very happy,” Roach said. “I’m still standing.”

Calls to Radel were not returned.

In the state Representative race, Republican Dane Eagle cruised to an easy victory over Democratic challenger Arvella Clare with over 62.3 percent of the vote to Clare’s 37.7. The vote count was 23,672 to 14,306.

“I’m excited. It’s been a long year. I got some good ideas from people in the district and I’m ready to put them to use,” Eagle said.

Eagle, who worked as a deputy chief of staff under former Gov. Charlie Crist, said he will use that inside knowledge to benefit his constituents.

“It’s great for Southwest Florida that I can get to work on day one,” Eagle said.

Clare was unavailable for comment.

In the 30th Senate District, GOP candidate Lizbeth Benequisto rode to a 20-point victory over Democrat Debbie Jordan, who was outgunned financially, but had no regrets.

“It was still a wonderful journey. I’m still going to be in the community and make sure the commitment to education they’ve been talking about takes place,” Jordan said.

Benequisto got 63,944 votes (61.2 percent) to Jordan’s 40,520 (38.8 percent).

Calls to Benequisto were not returned.

Numbers were still pending from Lee County at press time. All results are unofficial until certified.