Naples man enters congressional race

Posted at 11:10 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 23:10:08-04

NAPLES, Fla.- A Naples businessman announced his bid for Congress Monday.

Francis Rooney is the second officially declared Republican to run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Bonita Springs).

"I can't be co-opted,I don't need lobbyist money," said Rooney, who owns an investment company and served as Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005-2008.

Rooney says he'll use some of his own money to fund his campaign.

"I'm really committed and concerned about our country, so I could put in whatever is necessary and will, but I have a lot of people that want to help."

He'll face Sanibel Councilman Chauncey Goss, who announced his bid for congress last week. Goss received an early endorsement from Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.

So far the only Democrat to declare for the race is Valencia St. Louis Larose. Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful.

Collier County Democratic Chair Yudy Barbera hasn't heard from Larose either.

"To us it's not only important about getting a candidate, but getting the right candidate in there."

Barbera doesn't like the idea that the Republicans are running so many self financed candidates.

"As Democrats we feel it's not a good idea for the people to fund themselves, and then we don't have a clear picture of where this money came from."

Rooney says it doesn't matter how much money is thrown into a campaign, or where it comes from.

"At the end of the day it's about voters, look all this money in the presidential campaign hasn't propelled success."

The chair of Lee County's Democratic Party says he expects to announce a candidate for Clawson's seat soon.