tampabay.com

Negron says he should get GOP nod

The state representative from Stuart claims he has the best chance to succeed U.S. Rep. Mark Foley.

By STEVE BOUSQUET
Published October 1, 2006


State Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, claimed Sunday to have substantial party support to step into the race in place of U.S. Rep. Mark Foley.

Negron said he had support from a majority of the members of the Republican Party’s statewide executive board, who will choose a nominee today  in Orlando.

“I’m not taking anything for granted,” Negron said. He said his chief rivals for the post are Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie, and lawyer Tom Rooney, heir of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney.

 To Negron, the possibility of being the savior who keeps the seat in the GOP column is too much to resist.

“My sense is that people are going to be really focused on this race. It has national implications,” Negron said.

Negron said he has $615,000 in individual contributions left over from his failed bid for attorney general.

He said he expects a “substantial” number of donors will agree to help in a congressional campaign. “That will give me a very good start,” Negron said.