U.S. House Florida District 13 results: Charlie Crist defeats George Buck

Crist enjoys an easy win for a second term in Congress after facing a challenge from a political newcomer.
Incumbent and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist defeated George Buck for U.S. House Florida District 13.
Incumbent and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist defeated George Buck for U.S. House Florida District 13.
Published Nov. 7, 2018|Updated Nov. 7, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — Incumbent and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist beat political newcomer George Buck for U.S. House Florida District 13, in unofficial voting results.

This is the second congressional win for Crist, a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat who restarted his political career when he first won the redrawn seat in 2016.

Buck, a Republican who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, is a disaster management consultant and veteran who put veterans' issues at the front and center of his campaign. He had previously said he was "underwhelmed" by Crist, but largely avoided criticizing his opponent throughout the campaign season.

From his watch party at the Avenue Eat + Drink in downtown St. Petersburg, Crist said he was "extremely grateful" to represent Pinellas County for a second term in Washington.

As supporters in blue shirts snapped selfies with the Congressman, Crist said he expects Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives. He was unsure what that margin would shake out to, but attributed that potential switch to "the behavior of the executive branch" and also the individuals running in races nationwide.

"I think the caliber of candidates we were able to field, in particular, makes a big difference," Crist said. "It always does."

Crist, a career politician, stomped his opponent in fundraising, with more than $2 million in individual contributions over the last two years. Buck raised about $22,000 since March 2018.

The race was relatively quiet, compared to the onslaught of campaign mailers and other advertising that dominated other contests.

Crist says he will work to ban assault weapons and lift the income cap on payroll taxes to extend the life of Social Security. During his first term, he helped secure beach renourishment money for Pinellas, advocated for an extension on federal flood insurance and called for a federal investigation into the state's CareerSource job placement centers. He also worked across party lines in the House on flood insurance and veterans issues.

"I plan on fighting for the people of Florida and Pinellas County," Crist said. "Literally."