'Outsider' Clawson headed to Congress
© Curt Clawson the outsider for Congress

Republican Curt Clawson is heading to Congress after handily winning the special general election to replace disgraced former Rep. Trey RadelHenry (Trey) Jude RadelEx-GOP rep: Ryan avoids Speakership to protect shot at higher office 2014's top scandals After yearlong absence, ex-congressman makes Twitter return MORE (R-Fla.). 


The self-funding businessman and self-proclaimed "outsider" easily bested Democrat April Freeman in the solidly Republican district, a long-expected outcome. The Associated Press quickly called the race for Radel soon after polls closed at 7 p.m., where he was leading by nearly 40 points. 

Clawson won the GOP nomination in the April special primary, defeating other state legislators to get the nod. A former Perdue University basketball star, Clawson used his fortune to pound the other candidates on the airwaves. He also nabbed endorsements from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Rep. Conniee Mack (R-Fla.), who used to represent this district. 

Radel, a freshman congressman, resigned in January after he was busted for cocaine possession. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee hailed Clawson's expected victory. 

"As the new Representative for Florida’s 19th Congressional District, Curt will work tirelessly to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and stop ObamaCare from continuing to hurt Florida families," NRCC Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) said in a statement. "With his commonsense approach and business skills he will also be an invaluable voice in the battle to balance the budget and reign in Washington’s out-of-control spending."