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Paige Kreegel Announces Bid Against Trey Radel

Valerie Alker

Former Republican State Representative Paige Kreegel announced his candidacy for the U.S. House Tuesday.  He’ll be challenging sitting Congressman Trey Radel in the primary.  Radel, R-Fort Myers, recently plead guilty to a charge of cocaine possession. 

On a cold but sunny morning standing in front a Florida Department of Law Enforcement office in Fort Myers, Kreegel said Radel is not the issue.

He told supporters and reporters that he’d like to put his experience, judgment and restraint to work for the 795,000 other people who live in Florida’s 19th congressional district.

“We cannot bomb every nation just because we feel they’re mistreating their people,” he said. “We cannot tap everybody’s phone and read their email just because they might be terrorists.  We can’t give everyone every benefit imaginable, just because we can dream it up.  No nation can afford that.”

Kreegel, a medical doctor, said the nation’s most pressing problem is runaway federal spending.

He served in the Florida House from 2005 to 2012 in a district that included portions of Lee, Charlotte and DeSoto Counties. 

Joining him at the announcement was his former State House colleague Trudi Williams, who represented Fort Myers. 

“Paige often got his chairmanship stripped away because he didn’t want to in lockstep with what leadership was saying and that’s what we need up there is somebody who is not afraid to say no to the party as a whole and do the right thing,” she said.

Kreegel’s announcement didn’t just bring out a raft of supporters. It also brought out Radel detractors. 

Present at Tuesday morning’s announcement was Lee County’s outspoken Sheriff Mike Scott.  Scott said Radel’s not fit to serve.

“My passion right now is that Trey Radel not sneak back into that chair, as he think he’s planning to do,” he said. “I don’t purport to control a lot of or have a lot of political capitol but what I do have I plan to be very outspoken about.  With every fiber of my body I support him personally, but professional he’s got to go.” 

Radel, a former conservative talk radio host, was sentenced to one year probation after buying cocaine from an undercover agent in drug sting.

Kreegel’s medical practice was in Punta Gorda. He owns ranchland in DeSoto County and a home in Estero.  

Kreegel was also a candidate in the crowded primary election of 2012 which was ultimately won by Radel.  The upcoming primary is expected to be crowded as well.  Meanwhile a political action committee founded by a Southwest Florida builder has raised a million dollars for Kreegel’s candidacy.