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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Curt Clawson runs as outsider but plays insider game with contributions



Earlier this month we reported that Curt Clawson, a Republican candidate in the race to replace disgraced former Rep. Trey Radel, had made a single political contribution in his life — to Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

His campaign said the single contribution was evidence he is "truly is a political outsider and a breath of fresh air that is needed in Washington."

But it wasn’t true.

In late December, Clawson gave $5,200 to Sen. Mitch McConnell and an additional $4,800 to the Republican Party of Kentucky, FEC records show. The money caught the attention of a conservative commentator on Facebook, who scoffingly referred to McConnell as an “Establishment GOP RINO.” The McConnell fundraiser was held in Naples.

"Curt is doing what he can to help Republicans win in 2014 and therefore has stepped up his donations in the last few months to conservative candidates and organizations in southwest Florida and across the country,” advisor John Yob told the Tampa Bay Times. “He will continue making contributions to make sure that republicans have the votes to repeal Obamacare and implement pro-growth fiscal policies."

Clawson, his his campaign said, has made donations to the Collier County GOP; Sen. Rand Paul; Terri Lynn Land, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Michigan, where Clawson used to live; Rep. Justin Amash; and local Chambers of Commerce. He even contributed in local races, such as Bonita City Council.

For an outsider, Clawson, a former auto industry exec, is playing the inside game.

He’s also surprising other candidates in the race to replace cocaine Congressman Radel, spending big on TV ads and gaining traction.

[Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 1:30pm]


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