First Trey Radel Primary Challenger Emerges

Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, speaks out against the homeless hate crime bill during the house session on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
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Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) said last week that he’s not focusing on re-election as he returns to Capitol Hill from a stint in rehab, but that may be difficult now that he’s drawn his first official primary challenger.

Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel (R) formally launched his primary campaign Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“From ObamaCare to Washington’s out-of-control spending to the breaches of national security, the issues facing our country are serious matters that deserves serious, sober representation,” Kreegel said in a statement from his campaign, as quoted by the Times. “Southwest Florida should expect a Congressman who can lead, a Congressman without distractions, a Congressman they can trust.”

A super PAC, Values are Vital, already raised over $1 million to bolster a Radel challenger. The group was angling for Kreegel, whose 2012 run against Radel was unsuccessful, to run.

Top Florida Republicans, from Gov. Rick Scott (R) to the chairman of the state Republican Party, also wanted Radel out after he pleaded guilty last month to cocaine possession.

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