Bill Galvano celebrated a win Tuesday night that earned him a trip back to Tallahassee. The newly elected Republican state senator beat challenger Democrat Paula House with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
"It's definitely time to pivot from campaign mode into policymaking mode," Galvano said late Tuesday while celebrating with several hundred supporters at a Bradenton restaurant. "We'll start by getting back out into the district and start building on ideas ... and doing some long-term planning."
Galvano, 46, a lawyer and father of three, returned to politics after a two-year break. He previously served four terms in the state House. He returned to politics after redistricting put him in contention for a state Senate seat in a district made up of southern Hillsborough, Hardee, Manatee, DeSoto, Glades, northeastern Charlotte and southern Highlands counties. In his new office, Galvano promises even-keeled, thoughtful governance.
"I don't know all the answers for the district but part of being a good senator is to go out and learn," he said.
House, 62, a lawyer from Lake Placid, said the race was her first run for public office.
"I got started late. And for me to go from an unknown to a serious and electable candidate required a lot of hard work. I think we did that work," she said.
Winning the District 26 State Senate seat was always an uphill battle for House. Most major newspapers in the district endorsed Galvano based on his record in the state House. He also trumped her in fundraising by more than $500,000.
With results in, Galvano turned his sights to his first Senate term.
"(Wednesday) morning I'm going to meet with my potential staff," he said, "and we're going to put together our requisitions to the Senate president about offices and other things so we can hit the ground running and not waste time."