State of Play: The ‘epic dog fight’ starts; Dumornay goes indie; and Rommel and Simmons stay out of the game

12-12-19 O'Connell and EliasCongressional candidate Ford O’Connell talks to NBC2’s Dave Elias.

Dec. 13, 2019 by David Silverberg

This was a busy week in the race for Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat.

The ‘epic dog fight’ on the right begins

Rhetoric on the right began heating up as Republican candidates started vying to out-Trump each other in the race for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.).

Ford O’Connell, a Fox News analyst and commentator, filed his candidacy on Dec. 6 and immediately began blasting Rooney and loudly announcing his allegiance to Trump.

“When Francis Rooney didn’t talk in lockstep with Donald Trump, he not only let down the president, he let down the district,” O’Connell told NBC2’s Dave Elias in a Dec. 11 interview.

As for Rooney’s stated openness to hearing the evidence and making an independent decision, O’Connell said: “That’s a disgrace frankly! When he does that, he’s playing the Democrats and the media game.”

O’Connell continued: “It’s not just your allegiance to the president. You have to understand, I have spent the last three-plus years fighting for Donald Trump in the national media.”

And, in true, personalized Trump style, O’Connell took a shot at State Rep. Dane Eagle (R-77-Cape Coral): “I have a feeling that some people might actually want to go back to Tallahassee rather than stay in this, what is going to be an epic dog fight.”

Eagle countered with a barrage of photos showing him with Trump and a tweet yesterday, Dec. 12, stating: “We need representatives in Congress that will work with @realDonaldTrump, not obstruct him.

12-12-19 Eagle and Trump
An undated campaign photo from State Rep. Dane Eagle showing him with President Donald Trump. The other person on the left is unidentified.

“For two years, the Democrat controlled House has done nothing but obstruct (now trying to impeach) him. I’ll be one of the strongest fighters for the President when I get to Washington!”

Commentary: It’s hard to avoid noting that only dogs engage in dog fights.

Dumornay goes indie

Antonio Dumornay never appeared to fit into the Republican primary race for Rooney’s seat. On Nov. 30, he switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent.

11-27-19 Dumornay
Antonio Dumornay

“The Republican Party was key to bringing slavery to an end, and also with Civil Rights Movement, a lot for Republicans were key factors in legislation being passed, because they were facing Jim Crow laws in the South put in place by the Democratic Party,” Dumornay told Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics in an article appearing on Dec. 10. “Those are the values of the Republican Party that many in the public don’t know about.”

Dumornay called for a “Grand New Party” on his campaign website. But he felt he couldn’t run in what is rapidly turning into a high-priced race. He told Ogles that he believes he’s the only candidate running who makes less than $30,000 per year.

“I saw a lack of focus on people in this community who make less than $60,000 a year and those are the ones most affected in their living situation by cost of living increases, the trade war and everything becoming more expensive,” he told Ogles. “I’m simply a 9-to-5 working man looking to make a difference for the average American.”

If he meets all the requirements, he will appear on the general election ballot next November.

Standing pat

In what is already a crowded field, those who decide to stand pat have as much impact as those who jump in.

This week State Rep. Bob Rommel (R-106-Naples) announced that he would not run for this office. That leaves him facing Democratic activist Sara McFadden in the race for the 106th District seat.

Also declining to get in the game is Peter Simmons, Republican mayor of Bonita Springs. Simmons told Florida Daily that while he’d received an enormous number of messages and e-mails and appeals to get in the race, he wasn’t going to do so.

“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,” he stated.

Liberty lives in light

© 2019 by David Silverberg


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