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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Palm Beach congressional candidate files for Dwight Dudley's seat



Democrat Dwight Dudley has drawn a Republican challenger for his St. Petersburg-based House seat: A South Florida congressional candidate and advocate for the disabled named Joseph "JB" Bensmihen.

The former CEO and owner of Boca Home Care Services, Bensmihen filed for the seat Friday using a St. Petersburg address, but less than a year ago, he declared candidacy for a South Florida congressional race.

Bensmihen filed to challenge U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

State lawmakers must live in their district but do not have to prove residency until after the election.

Bensmihen, 47, was born with spastic cerebral palsy and has advocated for the disabled since he was 12, according to his campaign website.

Dudley has held the Pinellas County seat, which leans Democratic but is competitive, since 2012. In 2014, he beat Bill Young, the son of former congressman CW Bill Young, with 53 percent of the vote.

[Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2016 2:05pm]


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