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Gonzalez, Sawyer enter race as more run for Congress



A staunchly conservative district for the past eight years, Congressional District 17 has been through a whirlwind since U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney tweeted, “After 10 years in Congress, it’s time to hang them up,” two weeks ago.

Rooney, a fifth-term congressmen, will not seek re-election this November, opting to step away. The announcement — delivered in less than 280 characters on the popular social media platform — quickly reverberated through the district as names to replace Rooney popped up likes weeds.

State Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, officially declared his intention to vie for the U.S. House of Representative District 17 seat earlier this week, joining a few others.

And on Thursday, State Rep. Julio Gonzalez, a Venice Republican, threw his hat in the ring. He’ll address his constituents and discuss his platform at 6 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Venice Community Center.

After presenting two bills Friday as the 2018 Legislative session winds down, Gonzalez walked back to his office in Tallahassee and began packing.

“My passion has always been protecting the Constitution and pursuing issues important to the



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