In a battle between two Sarasota attorneys, David Shapiro held a commanding lead over Jan Schneider in the 16th Congressional District Democratic primary.
Shapiro, whose campaign manager said he and his opponents traded concession messages, credited hard work as the key reason behind his victory.
"We reached out to voters," he said. "I met a ton of people and got a lot of support. We had the right message, talking about healthcare that is affordable and talking about Medicare and Social Security and veterans issues, which is a particular interest of mine because my father was a World War II veteran, a Marine sergeant who survived the battle of Iwo Jima."
Shapiro's biggest margin of support came from Sarasota County. It was far tighter in Manatee and Hillsborough.
"Nothing surprises me," he said when asked why the race was tighter outside of Sarasota.
As for the nearly 100-to-1 lead in campaign contributions, raising more than $1.1 million in a seat targeted by Democrats for the midterms, Shapiro said it was more an indication of support for his message than a message to President Donald Trump.
"There really wasn't much talk during my travels about the president," he said. "People were more interested in kitchen table issues. They get enough Trump information from cable news and the daily episodes."
Shapiro, 58, ran for the Florida House in 2006, barely losing to Republican Doug Holder in the heavily Republican District.
For Schneider, 71, this was her sixth bid for the seat. Efforts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful.
Shapiro easily outpaced Schneider in campaign contributions by a nearly 100-1 margin, raising $1.17 million versus the nearly $18,000 raised by Schneider.
Shapiro will face Republican incumbent Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key in November. Buchanan is seeking his sixth term.
After a lengthy and contentious redistricting battle, a swath of Hillsborough County south of the Alafia River is now part of District 16, a heavily Republican district that also includes all of Manatee County and part of Sarasota County.
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