A pair of wealthy donors have pooled together a million dollars in seed money to form a super-PAC to target Florida GOP Congressman Trey Radel who was busted for cocaine possession earlier this year. The Values are Vital super-PAC was formed by Anthony Farhat, the president of PGI Homes, a Southwest Florida home building corporation.
The super-PAC received initial funding from two wealthy donors. Ronald Firman, a Miami retiree, and Martin Burns, a Las Vegas attorney each contributed around half a million dollars to the PAC. Last month Values are Vital formed and they filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today.
The PAC is trying to encourage Paige Kreegel to challenge Radel. Kreegel finished third in the Republican primary in 2012, behind Radel and Chauncey Goss. Although, Farhat says his intentions are not explicitly to target Radel, his rhetoric appears aimed to do exactly that. Farhat states that:
I don’t see the average Southwest Florida Republican super voter making the same mistake twice, saying ‘Hey, I’m going to go for a guy who’s a self professed alcoholic and drug abuser. I don’t think anybody needs to spend a million to make Trey Radel look bad.
Radel’s district is heavily Republican. The congressman carried 62 percent of the vote in 2012, so donors may not fear a Democratic upset victory as much as they fear that Radel will continue to embarrass the party on the national stage.
Kreegel, a physician, has not yet entered the race, but he expressed interest in a rematch with Radel back in November. In a year where several incumbent Republican Representatives and Senators are already facing primary challenges, an expensive race to oust Radel may serve as yet another source of conflict within an increasingly dysfunctional Republican Party.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.