Curt Clawson addresses Republican Leadership Conference

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Curt Clawson, the Republican nominee for Southwest Florida’s U.S. House seat, addressed thousands gathered Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.

“Curt was discussing how staying true to Constitutional conservatism is a message of opportunity to the African-American, Hispanic and other non-traditional Republican communities,” said his spokesman, David James. “… He was invited because of recent primary victory in the special election, reflecting his ability to unite business and CEO types with constitutional and Tea Party conservatives.”

The conference signals the unofficial kickoff of the 2016 presidential campaign season. The conference is known for its presidential straw poll, which was won by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Clawson, of Bonita Springs, is the former chief executive of Michigan-based Hayes Lemmerz, once the world’s largest supplier of automotive wheels and brakes. He is running for the District 19 congressional seat vacated by Trey Radel, who resigned in January after pleading guilty in district court in Washington, D.C., to misdemeanor cocaine possession charges.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.