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Club For Growth backs Byron Donalds in CD 19

Finance background, school choice support played role in endorsement.

Club For Growth made its pick in a heated Republican primary for a Southwest Florida Congressional seat.

The free market advocacy group endorsed Naples Republican Byron Donalds, a state lawmaker and professional financial advisor.

“Byron Donalds is a constitutional conservative with invaluable experience in finance who has proven his pro-growth credentials during his time as a State Representative, and we are proud to endorse his campaign,” said Club for Growth PAC David McIntosh.

The right-leaning group has enjoyed growing influence in Washington, D.C. pushing an economically conservative message.

McIntosh said Donalds’ work in the statehouse advocating for free market conditions and deregulation attracted the group to his candidacy.

“Donalds has been a principled leader on key issues including cutting taxes, limiting spending and fighting to expand school choice, and we look forward to enthusiastically supporting his successful path to the House of Representatives,” McIntosh said.

It’s a critical endorsement considering Club For Growth’s record of success. The organization says it wins 85% of elections in which it participated in 2018.

That’s in part because participation doesn’t stop with a press release. Club For Growth officials spend just 8.9% of money on overhead for its political action committee, the National Review reports.

Donalds is one of 10 Republicans running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District to replace retiring Rep. Francis Rooney. That’s a heavily Republican district Rooney won in 2018 with more than 62% of the vote.

Donalds jumped into the election in January and quickly set himself apart as a major fundraiser. He pulled in $338,163 in the first quarter of 2018, immediately joining the top tier of candidates despite his late entry.

The state Representative is one of four elected officials running for the seat, along with fellow Reps. Dane Eagle and Heather Fitzenhagen and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson.

He’s argued since entering the race he boasts the most conservative legislative record.

Written By

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

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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