Lizbeth Benacquisto draws Republican challenge in SD 30

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Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto has drawn a GOP challenge in her re-election bid, as political novice Michael Dreikorn filed to run in Senate District 30.

The two Republicans faced off in last month’s GOP primary for Florida’s 19th Congressional District to replace disgraced former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned from Congress January, almost three months after his arrest for cocaine possession in Washington D.C.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who steps forward to run for public office, Benacquisto said in a statement. “Like we’ve done this year, cutting taxes for hardworking Florida families and small business owners, protecting our children, ensuring their access to a world class education, keeping our promises to seniors and honoring our veterans are my continued priorities as your State Senator.”

Benacquisto, a Ronald Reagan conservative, finished second in the CD 19 primary with 26 percent, behind former CEO Curt Clawson, who won the race with 38 percent having solid Tea Party backing.

Dreikorn, an aviation expert and first-time candidate considered by many to be a longshot, came in fourth with only 11 percent.

Senate District 30 covers the area of Fort Myers and parts of Charlotte and Lee Counties.

It’s going to be a tough battle,” Dreikorn told “That’s the way I am. I’m fighting to be the voice of the people. That is my only motivation.”

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.