Byron Donalds not running for Congress, focusing on HD 80 race

Byron Donalds

Count Byron Donalds out of the race to replace Curt Clawson.

Donalds said Friday he does not plan to run for Florida 19th Congressional District seat being vacated by Clawson, a Bonita Springs Republican. Instead, Donalds said he will remain focused on the state House District 80 race.

“I believe my time and talent will be most effective in our state legislature,” he said in a statement. “In Florida, we have a real opportunity to accomplish meaningful reforms that will improve the lives of all Floridians, and I look forward to crafting and improving policy for our state.”

Donalds ran for the congressional seat in 2012, losing to Fort Myers Republican Trey Radel. Two years later, Donalds was early supporter of Clawson in the race to replace Radel.

Clawson announced last month he wasn’t running for re-election, saying he wanted to spend more time with his ailing father. Two Republicans — Sanibel Island resident Chauncey Goss, the son of former CIA Director Porter Goss and the former congressional budget staffer, and Naples resident Francis Rooney, the former ambassador to the Holy See and a longtime Bush family supporter — have already announced they plan to run for the seat.

In his statement over the weekend, Donalds said he felt it was necessary to “fully explore a run for SWFL’s congressional seat at the urging of many” supporters.

“I have decided that the best choice for my family and our community is for me to remain a candidate for the Florida House, and not to run for Congress,” he said. “It is humbling to know that I would have the support and the resources to run and win our congressional seat.”

Donalds faces Naples Republican Joe Davidow in the race to replace Matt Hudson in the Florida House. Hudson, also a Naples Republican, can’t run for re-election again because of term limits.

The state House district includes eastern Collier County and all of Hendry County. State records show Donalds has raised $100,528 for his state House bid.

Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster


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