On Thursday, Southwest Florida Republican Congressman Curt Clawson stunned the political world as he announced he will not run for reelection to focus on his ailing father. “Since my mother’s passing last year, our family has gone through significant change and transition,” Clawson said. “I believe that now is a good time to pass the baton and spend more time close to home."
First elected to Congress in a special election 2014, Clawson stressed his roots in the private sector and his college basketball career, dubbing himself the “Outsider.” Once in Washington. Clawson became a favorite of the tea party, offering the Tea Party Express’ response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union in 2015.
The retiring congressman returned to his campaign themes on Thursday.
"Our political system is well served when qualified folks from other fields take a temporary turn participating in the governing bodies of our great country,” Clawson said. "I am proud of our work while in office in defending conservative values, supporting our constituents, especially our vets, standing against business as usual in Washington, and changing the conversation about our water resources in South Florida. Moreover, I will always be grateful for passing H.R. 890 into law, protecting over 17,000 acres of pristine coastal property in Collier County.
"I have been deeply humbled and honored to represent the people of Florida 19,” he concluded. “I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and encouragement throughout my time in public service.”
Clawson becomes the tenth member of the Florida delegation to forego running for reelection as members retire or run for the U.S. Senate. Clawson’s Southwest Florida district is considered safely Republican and whoever wins the GOP’s primary to replace him should be headed to Washington. Chauncey Goss, whose father served in Congress for 16 years and who ran before for the seat in the Republican primary, wasted no time and got in the race right after Clawson announced his retirement. Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, who ran for the seat twice before and lost in the Republican primaries, is weighing another bid.