Democrats Pick Up Two Congressional Seats

By on November 7, 2018 in News Service of Florida

Tallahassee, FL – Democrats flipped a pair of South Florida congressional seats Tuesday as Republicans retained their hold on the state’s delegation.

Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell edged out two-term Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo for the District 26 seat, which is made up of Southwest Miami-Dade County and all of Monroe County.

Unofficial results as of 10:15 p.m. showed Mucarsel-Powell with 50.7 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Donna Shalala, a former University of Miami president, captured the District 27 seat long held by Republican Congressman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Ros-Lehtinen was one of three Florida Republicans who decided to retire rather than seek re-election this year.

“I’m proud to know you had my back,” Shalala, who received 51.7 percent of the vote, told voters in a prepared statement. “Now, it’s time to fulfill my end of the bargain.”

Republicans held the three other open congressional seats: state Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, won in Congressional District 15; state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, won in Congressional District 17; and businessman Michael Waltz won in Congressional District 6.

Waltz, a former Army Green Beret, defeated Democrat Nancy Soderberg to take the seat Republican Ron DeSantis gave up as he ran for governor.

District 6 is made up of all or parts of St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia and Lake counties. President Donald Trump tweeted support for Waltz on Tuesday.

“Florida, very important — get out and vote for Florida Congressional Candidate Michael Waltz (R),” Trump wrote. “He has my Strong Endorsement!”

Florida’s congressional delegation will now stand at 14 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

In less-competitive races across North Florida, incumbent Republicans Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, Ted Yoho and John Rutherford and incumbent Democrat Al Lawson all held on to their seats.

In Central Florida, incumbent Democrats Darren Soto, Charlie Crist and Stephanie Murphy and Republicans Bill Posey, Daniel Webster and Gus Bilirakis were re-elected.

Across South Florida, incumbent Republican Francis Rooney and Democrats Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz retained their seats.

Democrats Kathy Castor and Lois Frankel were re-elected without opposition this year, while Democrats Frederica Wilson and Val Demings retained their seats through primary wins.

Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings was assured of a 14th term as his only opposition Tuesday was a write-in candidate.

The state has been represented by 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

Besides Ros-Lehtinen, retirements were announced this year by Republicans Tom Rooney in District 17 and Dennis Ross in District 15. DeSantis left his seat in September to focus on running for governor.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in Ros-Lehtinen’s District 27, which was one of the few that Trump failed to win in 2016.

Shalala, who also served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, defeated Maria Elvira Salazar, a long-time journalist and television personality who worked for Telemundo.

Curbelo’s District 26 seat has also seen a shift in recent years toward Democrats and saw Clinton outperform Trump in 2016.

Curbelo was first elected to the U.S. House in 2014.


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