In a race featuring two current state representatives and the son of a former U.S. Congressman, it was a former television reporter and conservative radio host who took the nod.
Trey Radel overcame a lack of political experience, mudslinging about his professional past, and five other candidates to win the Republican nod for U.S. Rep. in the 19th Congressional District, a seat that became available when Rep. Connie Mack decided to run for U.S. Senate.
Radel took 29.98 percent of the vote in a district that covers Collier and Lee counties, outpacing runner-up Chauncey Porter Goss (21.51 percent), Paige Kreegel (17.7 percent), and Cape Coral's Gary Aubuchon (15.49 percent).
Byron Donalds, who got the most votes in Collier County, went almost unnoticed in Lee and finished fifth (13.93 percent), with Joe Davidow (1.38 percent) bringing up the rear.
A total of 74,067 Republicans cast their ballots.
Kreegel and Aubuchon, state representatives in the 72nd and 74th districts, respectively, and Porter-Goss, whose father, Porter Goss, was U.S. Rep. in the 14th District and Director of the CIA, were seen as having the pedigree and the experience.
But it was Radel's name recognition as a TV reporter and local radio talk show host, and the endorsement of Mack, who currently holds that seat, that helped win the day.
Aubuchon and Radel were unavailable for comment.
Radel will face Democrat Jim Roach, who was unopposed in the primary, and Brandon M. Smith, no party affiliation, in the general election Nov. 6.