Dan Severson’s campaign team resigns in wake of Byron Donalds rollout
Dan Severson

Dan Severson
Former Minnesota lawmaker will continue, but has faced challenges wooing evangelicals.

Cape Coral Republican Dan Severson announced he’s loaned his Congressional campaign $100,000. But he also just had his entire campaign team resign.

Campaign Manager Diana Watt and her company, Watt Political Consulting, parted ways with the former Minnesota Representative.

“We hold Dan Severson and his wife, Cathy Jo, in the highest regard and wish them the very best,” Watt said.

Severson is one of eight Republican candidates running to succeed U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Watt previously served as a regional field director for the Republican Party of Florida in 2017, and in Ohio in 2016 led the Lucas County campaign for President Donald Trump.

Nathan Watt, deputy campaign manager, also praised Severson but resigned from the campaign.

“Dan Severson has served his country with honor his entire life and is a wonderful example of a man obeying God’s call on his life,” Nathan Watt, who previously worked for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s campaign, said. “It has been my honor to work with him, pray with him, and worship with him. I wish him nothing but the very best.”

The staff walkout comes the same week state Rep. Byron Donalds unrolled his own Congressional campaign for the seat. Both Donalds and Severson were vying for the social conservative and evangelical vote.

In fact, many of the national groups Severson had approached for endorsements had said they would wait to see if Donalds jumped in before making any decisions.

Even without an existing campaign team, Severson has elected to continue in the race. The six-figure infusion was put into his campaign to show his seriousness about the office and an ability to compete in a field with a number of established politicians.

“This is an important race and I am making an investment in the people of Southwest Florida,” Severson said.

In addition to Severson and Donalds, state Reps. Dane Eagle and Heather Fitzenhagen and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson also seek the GOP nomination. Naples physician William Figlesthaler, disabled advocate Darren Dione Aquino and professional commentator Ford O’Connell have also filed in the Republican primary.

Severson jumped into the race in November. He said then he’d mulled a run even before U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney announced his retirement. He boasts campaign and fundraising experience, notably from running as the Republican nominee for Minnesota Secretary of State.

Fundraising totals for the first quarter since Rooney announced his retirement have not been filed by Severson or any other Republican candidate.

Severson remains confident he would be the best representative in one of Florida’s most conservative Congressional districts.

“This country is in need of good governance of which we are sorely lacking. I believe my experience and my faith will be a positive force in Washington D.C. representing the people of District 19,” he said.

“I am passionate about pro life causes and this is something I am willing to do in order to further the protection of life as I serve in the Congress.”

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].


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