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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Super PAC forms to boost Paige Kreegel as possible opponent to Trey Radel



UPDATE: Kreegel has officially declared he's a candidate.

A Southwest Florida homebuilder has formed a super PAC to elevate Paige Kreegel as a replacement for embattled Rep. Trey Radel of Fort Myers, indicating the stakes in a district rocked by Radel’s cocaine bust.

Anthony Farhat, President of PGI Homes, has already raised more than $1 million for the "Values are Vital" Super PAC. Big donations were given by Martin Burns, a Las Vegas attorney, and Ronald Firman of Miami, according to campaign finance reports. Farhat described them as longtime friends of Kreegel.

Farhat said his intention isn’t necessarily to defeat Radel — “He’s created his own demise." — but to promote Kreegel. A number of other GOP figures have show interest in the race, certain to the won by a Republican.

“I’m not trying to scare or intimate anybody,” Farhat said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m just trying to do what I can as a business owner in this district … I’m trying to say 'Hey, I don’t want to see our district continue to make mistakes.' ”

He declined to name potential candidates he thinks are inferior to Kreegel, a medical doctor and former state legislator. Kreegel, who lost to Radel in a crowded 2012 primary, hasn’t officially said he would run but has expressed interest.

Farhat said he does not anticipate Radel being an issue but would not hold back if somehow the 37-year-old former TV reporter salvages his reputation.

“I don’t see the average Southwest Florida Republican super voter making the same mistake twice, saying ‘Hey, I’m going to go for a guy who’s a self professed alcoholic and drug abuser. I don’t think anybody needs to spend a million to make Trey Radel look bad. But it’s possible, you never know.”

[Last modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 12:26pm]


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