Florida's 19th Congressional District Now Competitive

Rep. Trey Radel arrest and conviction opens door to Democratic victory 

The political race to represent Florida’s 19th congressional district is now competitive, according to experts and observers, and April Freeman, the only declared Democratic candidate, is positioned to win the seat.

“We represent a sensible, centrist alternative to the extremism we’ve seen in Washington,” said Freeman, a resident of Cape Coral, Fla. “People in the 19th District are hungry for representation that truly reflects their basic decency and common sense.”

The arrest and conviction of Rep. Trey Radel on cocaine possession charges has created an opening for a moderate, Democratic candidate, Dr. Laura Weir, a political expert and professor of political science at Edison State College, told Fox-4 News in Fort Myers, Fla.

 “A combination of historically low congressional approval ratings over the last year and Rep. Trey Radel’s betrayal of public trust could open the door for Democratic candidates come 2014,” she said. “A moderate Democratic candidate certainly would have people willing to listen to them.”

Radel is currently undergoing rehabilitation therapy. The Florida Republican party as well as the Republican parties of Lee and Collier counties have urged him to resign and stated they will not support his re-election effort.

The competitiveness of the Florida 19th was noted well before Radel’s arrest.

In April 2013, Democrats Advancing Progressive Action in Congress (DAPAC) found the Florida 19th to be a favorable district for unseating a Republican member and endorsed April Freeman for Congress, one of only two Floridians it endorsed.

As early as October 2012, an independent survey by 410 Associates, a national research firm, found the district to be evenly split and open for a Democratic victory. The survey was commissioned by Jim Roach, then the Democratic candidate for Congress.

“A Democratic victory in the 19th District could move Florida into the Democratic column and break the current logjam in Congress,” said Freeman. “We’d start seeing some progress on the issues and proposals that would move the country forward.”

She added: “A Democratic victory in the 19th District in 2014 would also set the stage for a Democratic Florida in the 2016 presidential election.”

April Freeman is a wife, mother and businesswoman who lives in Cape Coral, Fla. She is chief executive officer of Spiked Heel Productions, a full service film and television production company with offices in Southwest Florida, California and Michigan. She was an organizing fellow for President Barack Obama in Lee County, Fla., in 2012 and served as deputy state lead and press liaison for Florida for the National Day of Service.