March 19, 2020 by David Silverberg
Republican Ford O’Connell has dropped his bid for Congress in the 19th Congressional District currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Francis Rooney.
He is the first candidate and the first Republican to withdraw from the race. There are now 11 candidates seeking the office: Eight Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent.
In a statement issued at 11:00 am this morning, the former Fox News pundit stated that he could not run the race he had planned due to the Coronavirus outbreak. He did not endorse any other candidate. He stated he was donating his remaining campaign funds to local charities but did not say if this included the $200,000 loan he made to his campaign committee.
O’Connell was a fierce defender of President Donald Trump.
His full statement, issued as an e-mail to supporters, follows below:
After much thought and careful consideration, it is with a heavy heart I announce that I have decided to withdraw my candidacy for the FL-19 U.S. congressional seat.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic. Lives are at stake. The time for action is now. As a result of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak, we cannot run the type of campaign we wanted to run; one where we go to local events and meetings, schools and libraries, museums and restaurants, and speak to voters and hear about the issues that matter to them, where we get our message out face-to-face with citizens at the grassroots level through an exchange of ideas, having real conversations that matter, rather than in 30-second TV ads. Public safety is paramount, and an election where voters’ health may be endangered to run a campaign by, for, and of the people is not one in which I can in good conscience continue.
To that end, I have decided to donate a portion of my campaign funds to the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida and to the American Red Cross to assure our friends and neighbors are taken care of during this difficult and uncertain time.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my fiancé, Sarah, my family, my dedicated campaign staff, my friends and supporters; to everyone I spoke with over the past several months who shared their story, their concerns, their humanity – to each and every one of you – thank you. I am humbled by your support and by your belief in me and in what we stand for.
We fought a good fight, and we should all be incredibly proud of that. Now, we turn our battle to a new horizon; one with much higher stakes and that will in the coming days and months impact us all. Stay safe. Stay strong. Together, there is nothing America can’t do. While this campaign has reached its end, know that I’m not done fighting for you, for Southwest Florida, and for our great nation.
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg