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Bob Rommel Opts Against Running for Congress in Southwest Florida

State Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, has decided to stay out of the crowded Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.

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State Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, has decided to stay out of the crowded Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.

Rommel announced on Monday that he would stay in the Florida House and not run for Congress.

“Over the past several weeks since Congressman Francis Rooney announced that he would not be seeking re-election to the Florida Congressional District 19 seat, I have been encouraged by family, friends, and many supporters to consider a candidacy for Congress. Like many of my supporters, I remain deeply concerned that we need consistent, conservative representation in Congress if we are to keep America secure and prosperous,” Rommel said before turning to the issues that concern him.

“Raising the debt ceiling must stop being the default option for a Congress that cannot stop over-spending its budget. The national debt is rapidly becoming the foremost threat to our national security and our economic vitality, and left unchanged, we will be headed for bankruptcy in the next 25 years. This will not only destroy wealth for this generation but for many generations afterward. We must prioritize our spending to focus on national security first. This defined the very initial purpose of forming the federal government. Our military must continue to be taken seriously by both China and Russia, our border must be secured, and our natural resources must be protected,” he continued.

“In line with spending reform, we need more serious taxation reform,” Rommel added. “Our progressive income tax has continued to burden our economy and hurt the very people that it is supposed to help. Our leaders should exert the character and determination necessary to pass a flat income tax at a minimum and, even better, to replace the income tax with a national consumption tax as we have proven here in Florida to work so well.”

Rommel also offered a tip of the cap to President Donald Trump.

“President Trump has begun to limit the power of federal agencies to impose authority never granted to them by Congress. But more must be done, and when we take Congress back in 2020, we must be serious about constraining agencies, reforming them, and in some cases, repealing them out of existence altogether. In the name of goodwill, the federal government, over time, has taken over many roles that should be relegated only to the states. With it, states and the people they represent have seen inefficiency, tyranny, and corruption grow at the federal level,” Rommel said.

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Still, despite his concerns about a host of federal issues, Rommel said he remained focused on Florida.

“I am passionate about these issues, and I am passionate about reform. With that being said, I am also passionate about Florida and about our state government, and I believe that for now, I can best serve our community by remaining in the Florida Legislature and helping Governor Ron DeSantis, Speaker Oliva, and incoming Speaker Sprowls with our agenda to keep Florida as a world-class destination for economic opportunity,” Rommel said.  “I will be watching this race for CD-19 closely and intend to engage at the right time in endorsing the person who I feel is the most principled and best able to lead our nation forward. I want to thank our many supporters and those that have encouraged us in our commitment to the conservative cause.”

Now in his second term in the Florida House, Rommel is the vice-chairman of the Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee. He represents parts of Collier County.

Rommel isn’t the only Republican this week who took a pass at running for the seat. Bonita Springs Mayor Peter Simmons is also staying out of the contest.

Last week, state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, jumped in the race. Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, who has been at his current post for a decade, also entered the crowded Republican primary in recent days. Other Republican candidates include actor and activist for disabled police firemen and veterans Darren Dione Aquino, activist Antonio Dumornay, state House Majority Leader Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, Dr. William Figlesthaler, attorney Ford O’Connell and former Minnesota state Rep. Dan “Doc” Severson.

On the Democratic side, college professor and businesswoman Cindy Banyai and businessman David Holden who was the party’s candidate last time out are running. The district, which includes parts of Lee and Collier Counties, is considered secure for the GOP.


Reach Kevin Derby at



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