TAMPA — Voters sent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor back to Washington for a fourth term Tuesday, as she defeated GOP challenger and political newcomer Evelio "E.J." Otero.
Castor picked up an easy majority in hometown Hillsborough County, but won Pinellas County by an even greater margin.
"I'm very humbled by it," Castor said. "I have a wonderful team. We try to work day in and day out to be an advocate for the small business owners, for students and for veterans, who deserve the benefits they've earned.
"It's a great, diverse district. I'm very humbled by the support my neighbors across the bay area have given me."
District 14 includes parts of Tampa, St. Petersburg and coastal east Hillsborough County.
Otero, a retired Air Force colonel with 28 years of service, defeated Eddie Adams Jr. in the Republican primary. He was heartened mid-evening to see that he had won tens of thousands of votes.
"If the voters decide that Ms. Castor should continue to be in Congress, I bless her and wish her all the best," he said.
Castor said she respects Otero's service and shares his enthusiasm on matters of trade and Latin America.
Her priority for the coming term?
"Continue to fight for every job and every economic opportunity for this area," she said. "We've got to continue to do more."
Staff writer Patty Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3382.