Congressional candidates spotted at impeachment protest outside Francis Rooney’s office
Impeachment demonstration outside Francis Rooney's office. Photo by Jacob Ogles

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Democrat Cindy Banyai supports impeachment. Dan Severson and William Figlesthaler oppose it.

Hundreds gathered outside the Cape Coral office of U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney for a demonstration on impeachment proceedings. Within the crowd were three candidates running for Rooney’s seat.

Democrat Cindy Banyai spoke at the “Impeach and Remove” rally, organized by liberal group MoveOn. Meanwhile, Republicans Dan Severson and William Figlesthaler counter-protested, waving signs supporting President Donald Trump.

Severson, a former Minnesota state Representative, knew there would be supporters of impeachment gathered. He wanted to make sure those who oppose articles also win notice. “As supporters of our President, I wanted to make it known this is a two-way discussion,” he said.

Dan Severson voices support for President Donald Trump.
Photo by Jacob Ogles

Banyai, a Florida Gulf Coast University Professor, rallied the crowd saying Trump asked Ukrainian leaders for a “personal favor” and should be removed. “I teach ethics in politics,” she said. “A few of our government leaders need to take some lessons.”

Cindy Banyai speaks at a MoveOn rally calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Photo by Jacob Ogles

Figlesthaler believes the vast majority of voters in Southwest Florida oppose impeachment articles. “I came here to support conservatives in our district that know, just like I do, that this whole impeachment thing is a hoax,” he said.

Dr. William Figlesthaler waves a Trump campaign flag at an impeachment protest.
Photo by Jacob Ogles

The demonstration came as political spectators wonder if U.S. Rep. Rooney will break Republican ranks and vote to impeach.

Figlesthaler expressed concern what Rooney will do.

“I hope Francis Rooney stands up for the people of our district and our beliefs and our values and votes the right way on this issue,” Figlesthaler said.

But neither Banyai nor Severson think Rooney will vote with Democrats on articles of impeachment.

“I haven’t had confidence in Francis Rooney in several years for him to vote for us for anything,” said Banyai, who was prepared to challenge Rooney.

Despite any past wavering, Severson expects Rooney to side with conservatives.

“Francis will do the right thing,” Severson said. “He will not vote for impeachment. He’s got the right heart of this, hopefully.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


One comment

  • Carla Johnson

    December 18, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Yeah Cindy! You have my vote! Let’s get rid of those other two pro-Trump lemmings!

Comments are closed.


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