NAPLES, Fla. - Former TEA Party challenger Byron Donalds tells 4 In Your Corner he is formerly considering a run for the congressional seat currently held by Rep. Trey Radel.
Radel is on a leave of absence and in a Naples rehab after pleading guilty to a cocaine charge two and half weeks ago in Washington DC. And so far, the freshman congressman continues to resist calls from state and local GOP leaders to step down.
Thirty-four-year-old money manager Byron Donalds beat Radel in the primary last year in Collier County but lost in the end after figuring in votes in Lee County.
As a family man himself, Donalds says he knows where Rep. Radel's priority should be.
"I think right now it's important for him to get his life in order, not only for him but for his wife, Amy, and for his son," says Donalds.
While calling Radel's drug scandal a distraction, Donalds won't comment on whether Radel should resign.
"I'm not sure what his thought process is on that. When you run for something like this you really put your all into it. I know Trey did; we all did," adds Donalds.
In fact, Donalds' hard work helped him edge Radel out during last year's primary in Collier 28 to 25%.
When asked why he thought he didn't have as great of a showing in Lee County, Donalds said, "name ID, nobody knew me up there. If I decide to run again, I think my support in Lee County would be substantially larger than it was before."
But, it seems, no one has forgotten Byron Donalds either.
"My wife and I receive a lot of communications and support from throughout the district, even places where I didn't get support before. We're probably going to make a decision over the next 45 to 60 days," he says.
And for a man who deals with numbers all day, he's now crunching numbers of a different sort.
"In politics you have to be able to put together the money in order to campaign strong and to do those things, but it's also community support. If people in Lee County; Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita, and Naples and Marco want to support me, I'd love their help," adds Donalds.
Donalds tells 4 In Your Corner he needs about a 1,000 staunch supporters to make his decision, of which he says he already has a majority.