Ready to replace Radel? Get ready to vote - a lot!

Congressman's resignation means 4 elections in just 8 months

CREATED Feb. 1, 2014

  • Print

 WFTX - If you're a registered voter in Lee county or western Collier county, you could be voting every other month to finally get a House representative in Washington.

The governor has set the dates for the special election process to replace Republican Trey Radel.

Radel resigned this week in the wake of his cocaine conviction in November.

The special election will only allow the winner to fill out the rest of Radel's term which ends this year.

After that, the regular election for the seat will be held just two months later.

Each election involves a primary election beforehand - meaning there will be 4 elections in just 8 months.

In other words, voters in the 19th district, could be voting 4 times between now and November - all for the same congressional seat.

The governor's decision to hold the special election so close to the end of Radel's term means voters will quickly have to go back to the polls again - again - and again.

Here's how it will work:

The primary for the special election will be held on April 22.

Only voters who are registered as either Republicans or Democrats can vote in the primary.

There is separate ballot for each party.

The general special election will be held on June 24.

All registered voters in the district - regardless of party affiliation - can vote the general special election.

The winner of that race will fill out the rest of Radel's term.

In the meantime, the election process for the next term begins.

So just two months after the special election on June 24, the primary will be held for the next term.

The primary is on August 26.

Again, only registered Republicans or Democrats can vote in the primary.

The general election for the new term will be held on November 4.

Because the district tends to historically elect Republicans, many political analysts consider the race to truly be decided in the GOP primary - both in the special election and the regular election. 

Since that limits who's really deciding the winner, it's not uncommon - and perfectly legal - for Democratic and independent (technically called "No Party Affiliation") voters to change their party affiliation to Republican to vote in the GOP primary, and then change their affiliation back afterwards.

To vote in the April 22 primary, you must register to vote in Lee county or Collier county by no later than March 24.

The field of candidates in the special election Republican primary is growing.

But only one Democrat, April Freeman, has stood out so far in her party's nominating process.

She's likely to face the winner of the Republican primary in both the special and general regular elections.

Libertarian Ray Netherwood is also running for the seat.