The four most important things to know about the race to replace Trey Radel

Embattled Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) has resigned from Congress, a decision that comes about two months after he pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge. That means another special election in Florida this year, where there's been no shortage of political intrigue.

So what will the new race mean? And just as as important, what won't it mean? Here are the four most important things to know:

1. Radel's district is very Republican, so his resignation doesn't put his seat in play for Democrats. The 19th district is very conservative territory. Mitt Romney won 61 percent of the vote there. The real intrigue here will be in the Republican primary, which could grow crowded and competitive. More on that below.

2. Gov. Rick Scott (R) will be tasked with setting the special election date. For the second time this cycle, Scott will have to set a special House election. (He previously did it in the 13th district, where long-serving congressman C.W. Bill Young (R) died last year.) Scott hasn't set a date yet, but Republicans with an eye on the race say they anticipate a late spring or early summer special election. For context, the 13th district special election primary was held Jan. 14 and the special general election will follow on March 11. Young passed away in late October.

3. Former state representative Paige Kreegel (R) was already in the race. Even before Radel decided to step down, he'd already drawn a Republican competitor. Kreegal, who won about 18 percent of the vote in the 2012 primary, announced that he would run earlier this month. A super PAC funded by his Kreegel's friends has formed and has pulled in more than $1 million.

4. But keep an eye on state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto (R). Benacquisto is viewed as a rising star in Florida politics. She can raise money, and she's familiar with this district. In short, she could emerge as the front-runner here in a hurry. Plus, Benacquisto has already gone up on TV with an ad for her reelection campaign. One way of viewing her early move is that she drew a challenger and is preparing early. But another way of looking at it is as a possible preemptive commercial for a congressional run. Another familiar name to keep in mind in this race is former congressman Connie Mack, who waged a losing 2012 Senate campaign.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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