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Lizbeth Benacquisto and Curt Clawson /  Shark Tank Media, LLC

Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto’s Democrat Past, Husband’s Obama and Clinton Ties

Florida State Senator and congressional candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto will have to face Republican voters and explain her past voter registration as a Democrat in Broward County, Florida.

Back in 1993, a young twenty-something Benacquisto was registered to vote as a Democrat. According to her campaign, her stint in the Democrat Party only until 1995, when he registered as a Republican.

Below is a screen shot of Benacquisto’s 1993 voter registration record:

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 5.03.52 PM

Many prominent Republicans over the course of U.S. history, including a fellow by the name of Ronald Reagan, were once Democrats themselves. Some even have admitted to be radical liberal ideologs.

Pic from Benacquisto's Congressional Campaign website

Pic from Benacquisto’s Congressional Campaign website

While some will try to make the case that Benacquisto is a Democrat at heart, even though her voting record in the Florida Legislature has been soundly conservative, and in-step with the Republican agenda, others will also try to paint Benacquisto’s chief primary challenger, businessman Curt Clawson, as also favoring Democrats, this after he donating to Democrat U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

But Benacquisto’s past affiliation with the Democrat Party is the least of her worries, as her marriage to ultra-liberal Democrat donor, Bruce Strayhorn, could pose as a major threat to her campaign, and turn off many conservative Republicans, pushing them to vote for Clawson or one of the other Republican candidates in the race.

According to, Strayhorn has been funding the liberal Democrat cause since 1996, when he first donated to the Democratic National Congressional Committee (DCCC), which just happens to be the counterpart to the Republican National Congressional Committee (NRCC).



Hillary with Bruce Strayhorn


After Clinton lost Senator Barack Obama, Strayhorn jumped on board the Obama presidential campaign, being quoted as saying “we have to make a change in Washington.”

While there have been political couples like Benacquisto and Strayhorn, that have opposing political views and party affiliation, it is hard not to think that there could be some common ground found between the two love birds.

Benacquisto, who like many other Republicans, was supportive of Charlie Crist before he switched to being an Independent in 2010, is running on the one thing she can count on, her voting record.

Here are a few of the documented donations Benacquisto’s husband made to Democrats over the years:

  •  1/10/06 $2,500 Moving America Forward (D)
  •  3/6/08 $2,300 Nelson, Bill (D)
  • 1/20/03 $1,000 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  9/24/04 $1,000 Castor, Betty (D)
  •  6/30/99 $1,000 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  6/30/00 $1,000 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  6/5/02 $1,000 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  6/5/02 $1,000 Nelson, Bill (D)
  • 5/30/07 $500 Democratic Executive Cmte of Florida (D)
  •  10/11/96 $275 Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte
  • 5/23/94 $250 Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte
  •  6/29/01 $250 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  6/30/00 $-423 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  3/21/05 $-800 Nelson, Bill (D)
  •  10/15/04 $1,000 Democratic Executive Cmte of Florida (D)

*Update– Minutes after this story posted, the Lizbeth Benacquisto campaign called the Shark Tank to cry about the story, calling it “sexist” and stating that her husband’s donations to Democrats were “irrelevant.”

Here is what they sent over:

Lizbeth has been consistent in her loyal support of the GOP and Republican causes. In fact, she is so dedicated to expanding the Republican ranks that before they were married, Lizbeth convinced her husband to join the GOP. Today, Lizbeth is proud to serve as the leader of the Florida Senate’s Republican caucus and has earned the support of Republican voters in Southwest Florida to serve them. We know these voters, friends, and colleagues recognize this stunt for what it is; a desperate tactic from a failing candidate. 

Lizbeth has been a Republican since 1995 – most of her adult life and 15 years before Curt Clawsen sent big bucks to a liberal Democrat, US Senator Debbie Stabenow. Within just a few months of his contribution, Democrat Stabenow cast the deciding vote to pass Obamacare. –Benacquisto Campaign

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About author

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres

As the managing editor of The Shark Tank, Javier was awarded the 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year. Countless videos and articles from the Shark Tank have been featured on Fox News, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and other national news publications. Javier has also appeared on Univision’s “Al Punto” and numerous radio shows, including being the weekly 92.5 Fox News' DayBreak with Drew Steele political contributor, as well as one of NewsmaxTV's conservative commentators. Javier has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at

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  1. Dianemarie March 11, 2014 at 7:28 am

    And no one knew this before her first election? Why not?

  2. G Speed March 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Maybe all the Republicans in Fl are really Democrats—gee what a novel idea–who’da thought? Tea party anyone?? One lump or two??

  3. BoGo March 11, 2014 at 11:21 am

    She did give $2,300 to Romney in 2007, but it looks like hubby pretty much holds the political purse strings.

  4. Linda March 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

    This is how we get RINO’S!!

  5. David Linn March 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Like many old Florida boys, Bruce was a longtime loyal Dem. Then he fell for LIzbeth, and she taught him the error of both his bachelor and Democrat ways. If she can change Bruce, Washington will be a cinch for Lizbeth.

  6. ct vivian March 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Vote for the Democrat and get your act together for 2016. Crist (bad Rubio clone) and Stabenow (Your guess is as good as ?) supporters NEED NOT apply!

  7. Valiant March 12, 2014 at 8:19 am

    She is without doubt one of the our conservatives. In the same vein as Ronald Reagan.
    Don’t be fooled by her past affiliation with the dems, like RR she was in the middle of the nest of the dems, and knows from personal hands on experience that they are a bunch of anti-American

  8. Barrie C Fitz-Gerald March 12, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Unbelieveable! Frankly, I’m getting tired of these closet RHINOs. There is no question in my mind that, of course, her husband will have an influence on what she would do as a Congresswoman.

    We have Crist, and now Benacquisto….imagine if Hillary gets in…WOW! …another nightmare!

    Lizbeth must have put her husband’s ideology into the mix when she married him…I’m sure it wasn’t all physical.

  9. Nitpicking March 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    No relevance whatsoever. I was raised in a republican (mom) and democratic (dad) household. I (a staunch democrat) married a republican. Living in a bipartisan household only opens my eyes more. Who cares what she was registered as in her 20s and who cares what her husband was. This article was nonsense.

  10. mike March 21, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Lizbeth is absolutely a plant and a RINO candidate.

    Her husband, a third generation attorney in ft myers is calling the shots.

    Remember Charlie Crist……………who was a rebublican before he was an independent, before he was a democrat, before he was for oil drilling, before he was against oil drilling, who is gay, before he was not gay, before……………………

    And the sheep follow these money hungry fools……………

  11. Barry March 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Politicians: they are all crooks, liars and thieves. What a pathetic selection we have to choose from. The GOP is dead. There are only a few real statesmen in Congress. Time for a new party that calls a spade a spade and will take no more bull from the race baiter anti-Christian, white people haters like B & M Obama, Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Opra Winfrey, etc. Why can’t we call black people americans….not afro-americans!!! They are not africans!!!! Get over it!!!!!

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Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto’s Democrat Past, Husband’s Obama and Clinton Ties

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