Friday, June 22, 2018
Politics

Congressman Gus Bilirakis cruises to fourth term

When legislators redrew Florida's election maps this year, much of Rep. Gus Bilirakis' district shifted into Pasco County. But still, the Palm Harbor Republican cruised Tuesday to an easy fourth term.

With all but one of the district's 178 precincts counted, Bilirakis, a 49-year-old attorney, held an insurmountable 2-1 lead in unofficial results over Democrat Jonathan Snow, a 25-year-old Walgreens clerk.

"I am humbled and honored to continue to represent all the people of this new district,'' Bilirakis said Tuesday night.

His top priorities in the coming months will be pushing veterans' education benefits and accountability for private schools getting public money, he said.

Bilirakis served eight years in the Florida Legislature, then succeeded his father, Michael, a longtime congressman who retired in 2006. Bilirakis' new district covers all of Pasco, with slices of northern Pinellas and Hillsborough. He dominated all three.

Snow had hoped that President Barack Obama's coattails would help down-ballot Democrats, but he drew no financial support from his party, according to federal records. Bilirakis raised 15 times more than all three of his opponents combined. "Obviously we didn't cross the line to victory, but I'm happy we worked hard and ran a clean race,'' Snow said. "I congratulate (Bilirakis). He's a good man. We just fundamentally disagree on the issues.'' Dade City nurse practitioner John Russell, 56, and Tampa lawyer Paul Sidney Elliott, 70, ran without party affiliation and combined for less than 4 percent of the vote.

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