Republican 17th Congressional District candidates vie for your vote

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Early voting is underway and primary day is just one week away and Campaign Central takes a closer look at Florida’s 17th Congressional District.

The district covers an expansive area from eastern Tampa Bay to Lake Okeechobee and south into Lee County.

We asked the three Republican candidates vying for your vote why they deserve it more than their candidate.

Bill Akins (R) Port Charlotte: “I’m not an establishment person. both of them are establishment guys. i don’t take special interest money. not even a dime.”

Greg Steube (R) Sarasota: “This is a largely agricultural district. i’m the only candidate in this race that has a fundamental production/agricultural background.”

Julio Gonzales (R) Venice: “What makes me different and unique is my scope of knowledge and my experience.”

The three way race has become especially contentious between the two leading candidate, State Senator Greg Steube and State Representative Dr. Julio Gonzales. Both accuse each other of running false ads.

Steube says he’s been endorsed by the NRA, “for my support of the 2nd amendment. I’m ‘A’ rated from the right to life. And I’ve always supported President Trump. He has not always supported President Trump.”

Gonzales hit’s back on clams of he support of the president, “The mantra that’s being sold falsely to our community is that I am still a Never Trumper, which is absolutely not true. I never was a Never Trumper.”

All 3 are military veterans. Bill Akins served in Vietnam and says putting veterans first is his top priority, “Right now, the most important thing to me is the veterans. The incumbent deserted the veterans and that’s why I got into this race.”

Steube says his main goal will be fighting for conservative values, “I have a record of fighting for the second amendment, of fighting for life, of fighting against illegal immigration and I will take those values and those fights to Washington.”

While Gonzales wants to repeal Obamacare and shrink the size of the federal government, he says, “We need to really protect that 10th Amendment to the Constitution and allow states to make decision for their constituencies.”

The question now, is which message will resonate with voters with exactly one week until the primary.

On the Democratic ticket, April Freeman and Bill Pollard will face off next week.

By Starrfruit [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

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