While the Republican primary field to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., is crowded, a prominent Southwest Florida politician said he plans to stay out of the race.
Bonita Springs Mayor Peter Simmons said he will not join the crowded field.
“Over the past several weeks since Congressman Francis Rooney announced he would not be running for reelection to Florida’s 19th Congressional District, I have received numerous telephone calls, emails, and text messages inquiring if I would be seeking the Republican nomination for Congress,” Simmons said. “I am flattered beyond words to be held in such high regard by so many friends, activists, business men and women, donors, and political organizations, however, for something that was not on my radar screen a few months ago – after consideration I am announcing that I will not be seeking the Republican nomination for United States Congress.”
Simmons stays out of a growing Republican field. 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.
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