Super-PAC raises $1M to boost Radel challenge

A super-PAC has raised a little more than $1 million to boost a potential primary opponent to Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) after his cocaine conviction, according to a Florida newspaper. 

The group, Values are Vital, raised the money from two individuals who formerly backed former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, a Republican candidate who lost to Radel in the primary last election.  

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, a Florida homebuilder, Anthony Farhat, created the PAC to boost Kreegel after Radel “created his own demise” after being busted for cocaine possession late last year. 

“I’m not trying to scare or intimate anybody,” Farhat told the newspaper. “I’m just trying to do what I can as a business owner in this district … I’m trying to say 'Hey, I don’t want to see our district continue to make mistakes.' "

A number of Republicans expressed interest in entering the race after Radel’s pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and was sentenced to a year of probation. Radel has since completed treatment for alcohol addiction in a rehabilitation facility in Florida and expects to continue to serve in the House. Radel has not said whether he will seek reelection. 

"I will return to Washington to work for you and continue to do what's right for our country,” Radel said in a Facebook post Sunday. “In the spirit of Christmas, thank you for this gift to serve you."

Kreegel previously told the Miami Herald that he is not opposed to a run, but he has not formally entered the race. 

"[Radel] either has to have the decency to leave office or he'll have to wait until the voters throw him out," Kreegel told the paper last year. 

Radel’s district is heavily Republican. He coasted to victory in the general election last year after winning a crowded primary. Kreegel placed third in the primary with 17 percent of the vote. 

Bloomberg first reported the creation of the super-PAC.