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Byron Donalds enters race to replace outgoing congressman Francis Rooney

Posted at 9:44 AM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 22:34:01-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- The list of candidates to replace outgoing congressman Francis Rooney in Southwest Florida is getting longer.

41-year-old Byron Donalds has announced his candidacy for Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Rooney announced in October that he would not seek re-election for a third term in 2020.

Donalds made his announcement Monday via an announcement video.

The conservative says he's running for Congress "to fight back against the liberal extremism that is destroying this country and our American Dream." The Naples resident was elected to the Florida House in District 80 in 2016, serving Hendry and part of Collier County.

"I’m everything the fake news media tells you doesn’t exist, a strong Trump-supporting, gun-owning, liberty-loving, pro-life, politically incorrect black man,” said Donalds in his announcement video.

Donalds is the eighth Republican in the race for District 19, joining:

Florida House Rep. Dane Eagle
Florida House Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen
Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson
Former Minnesota state Rep. Dan Severson
Professional commentator Ford O’Connell
Naples physician William Figlesthaler
Former New York City Mayoral candidate Darren Dione Aquino.

Democrat David Holden is also running for the seat.