Ave Maria law grad enters crowded CD 19 field
Christy McLaughlin is the latest entrant in the CD 19 race.

McLaughlin horizontal
She's the ninth Republican filed to succeed Francis Rooney.

Naples native Christy McLaughlin just took her bar exam a few weeks ago. But now she’s signed up for an even more rigorous test— a run for Congress.

The 24-year-old Ave Maria University graduate filed this week for outgoing U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney’s Congressional seat. The staunchly pro-life Millennial became the ninth Republican running in the most crowded GOP field in the state.

“I have nothing but respect for everybody who is running,” McLaughlin said.

“But I just have some different ideas.”

Chief among them are her views on abortion. She’s the second women running for the Republican nomination, but state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen voted with Democrats as recently as this Session regarding a parental consent law.

McLaughlin falls on a different part of the spectrum, supporting a ban on abortion even in cases of rape and incest. She only favors an exemption to save a life.

“It’s extremely important to see a young woman in her prime years to have children advocate for the sanctity of life and the dignity of life,” McLaughlin said.

The field does have staunch conservatives already trying to shore up the social issues lane. She faces state Reps. Byron Donalds and Dane Eagle, former Minnesota lawmaker Dan Severson, physician William Figlesthaler and professional pundit Ford O’Connell, as well as former New York Mayor candidate Darren Dione Aquino and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson.

She also intends to run on veterans issues, a critical concern in retiree-heavy Southwest Florida.

On that line, she wants to promote more holistic options in medicine, as opposed to opioids that have led to an addiction crisis.

She also hopes her long roots in the region set her apart from most of the field. Born in Naples, she attended Seagate Elementary and Community School of Naples before home-schooling in high school in the region. Crowned Miss Naples and Miss South Florida Latina in 2014, she later earned a bachelor’s at Florida Gulf Coast University, taught Catechism classes at St. Ann’s Catholic Church before getting her law degree at Ave Maria.

“My first breath or air was Southwest Florida air. My first drink was Southwest Florida water,” she said.

McLaughlin became politically active four years ago when Donald Trump was running for President, and considers her self a staunch supporter of the President’s agenda.

She hopes that helps convince voters in Florida’s 19th Congressional District that she’s a leader for the new millennium.

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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