The embattled freshman lawmaker was narrowly edged out by Lakeland, Fla., commission member Scott Franklin in the state’s 15th Congressional District, which covers parts of Tampa’s northeastern suburbs. Spano becomes the eighth House incumbent to be defeated in this year’s congressional primaries. Five of the losing lawmakers are Republicans.
The Associated Press called the race for Franklin at 9:35 p.m. ET.
Spano last year acknowledged that he had misreported as personal funds more than $100,000 in contributions to his successful 2018 congressional campaign. The misreporting of the donations was an “inadvertent and unintentional” mistake, he said, but a Justice Department investigation is ongoing.
Franklin was endorsed earlier this month by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a strong ally of President Trump.
Franklin, a managing partner in an insurance company, will now be considered the front-runner to win the Republican leaning district in November’s general election.
FILE- In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington. (House Television via AP)
National Republican Congressional Committee chair Tom Emmer offered “congratulations to Scott Franklin on his primary win tonight. Scott has fought for freedom as a member of the U.S. Navy and will continue that fight in the halls of Congress. Alan Cohn will support the Democrats’ extreme socialist agenda and will be soundly rejected by voters in November.”
In a House GOP primary in southeast Florida, Gaetz’s support of Laura Loomer may have helped the right-wing activist decisively win her race against five Republican rivals.
The 27-year-old Republican has sparked numerous controversies in recent years, including being expelled from Twitter and banned as “dangerous” from Facebook, in addition to being banned from from using Lyft and Uber for anti-Muslim comments.
The president congratulated Loomer on Twitter, saying, “Great going Laura.”
The GOP nominee will now face off in November in Florida’s 21st Congressional District against heavily favored Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel, who was unopposed in her 2018 re-election.
The district includes the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where Trump is registered to vote.