TAMPA — Republican Tom Rooney was on his way to victory late Tuesday night in the 10-county race for the District 17 U.S. House seat.
With many precincts from the most populous counties reported, Rooney was leading opponent William Bronson with almost three-fifths of the vote.
"We're looking forward to the new Congress and the new district," Rooney said from his victory party in Punta Gorda as the results rolled in. "I think that this new district is going to fit well for what I'm trying to accomplish."
The newly created District 17 covers some of the same area Rooney currently represents as the congressman for District 16.
This will be the first time Rooney, 41, represents residents in Hillsborough, where the new district encompasses the southeastern portion of the county, including Riverview and Sun City Center.
Other counties in the district are Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, Okeechobee and Polk.
Rooney said he will locate his Florida headquarters in Punta Gorda in Charlotte County. A second office is planned for Sebring and a third could wind up in Lithia's FishHawk Ranch or Polk County, he said. Rooney does not currently live in the district but plans to move.
Covering such a vast district won't be a problem, Rooney said, as his current one incorporates eight counties. "It's not really any different than before," he said.
Bronson, his opponent, is a retired airline pilot who lives in Lehigh Acres.