Lizbeth Benacquisto announces she has more than enough petitions to qualify in CD 19 race

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Lizbeth Benacquisto announced today that she has more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot via petition in the race to replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned his House seat in January.

Candidates for Florida’s 19th Congressional District require a minimum of 1,107 verified signatures submitted by 5 p.m. today.

“While some continue to tout their ability to play games,” Benacquisto’s campaign said in a statement, the Fort Meyers Republican has collected more than 3,100 supporters for signed ballot petitions. It was a subtle swipe at her GOP primary opponent, former Purdue University basketball captain Curt Clawson.

As of Wednesday, the Florida Division of Elections reports Clawson, a past CEO of automobile-wheel manufacturer Hayes Lemmerz International, only has 109 verified petition signatures.

“I am humbled that thousands of signatures from the people of this community have enabled me to qualify for the ballot,” Benacquisto said. “I know we are going to be outspent, but once again I see that we cannot be outworked.”

Benacquisto faces Clawson and former State Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 GOP primary. The general election is June 24.

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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.