Dana Cottrell has every disadvantage in her race for Florida's 11th Congressional District against U.S. Rep Daniel Webster.
Her Republican opponent represents a GOP-leaning district. He has the power of incumbency, four decades of name recognition and has out-raised her by a nearly 9-to-1 ratio.
Webster, 69, is one of the longest-serving politicians in Florida. But Cottrell, a 49-year-old former teacher and Democrat running in her first political contest, still thinks she can win.
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"If we take the Democratic vote, non-partisan and independent vote, as well as the Republicans who are voting for me, we will win," Cottrell said.
Cottrell, who lives in Spring Hill with her husband and child, bills herself as a middle-class American who knows the district as a Spring Hill resident.
She taught the children of military personnel stationed overseas and at home for the Hernando County School District.
Protecting the environment and creating higher-paying jobs are at the top of her agenda.
"People in Washington have no clue what it is to live day by day and make choices of whether you're going to put food on your table or pay your electric bill," she said. "That's the major reason I'm running."
Webster was first elected to the Florida Legislature in 1980 and spent 28 years there. In 1996 he became the first Republican Speaker of the Florida House in 122 years, then moved to the Florida Senate and became Majority Leader.
He won his first Congressional race in 2010. When his district was re-drawn, he ran for Florida's 11th district and won in 2016. The 11th covers Citrus, Hernando and Sumter counties and parts of Lake and Marion.
Webster said he considers himself more of a match to the political leanings of most residents.
"I'm a similar age as the average age of the district," he said. "I am conservative, the district has always played itself to be conservative, and I get things done."
Webster said he prioritizes cutting government costs, protecting the Second Amendment and helping senior citizens.
Although conservatives make up the majority of the district, Cottrell said her campaign has been courting voting groups that tend to be forgotten such as Millennials, women and overseas voters. She said her time spent teaching overseas in Germany and South Korea allows her to understand those issues more than most representatives.
Webster prides himself on the fact that he collects a 2008-level Congressional salary and contributes the rest to help pay off the national debt.
He said he is currently working on a bill that would reward federal agencies that find ways to reduce spending. He also touts his constituent service, saying he has brought $5.5 million to the senior citizens and veterans in his district so far by intervening whenever they have problems with Social Security, the IRS, Veterans Affairs and other agencies.
Webster and Cottrell both agree that Social Security should be protected.
But they are polar opposites when it comes to healthcare.
Webster has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and last year issued a statement calling it a "nightmare." He voted for the Republican-backed American Health Care Act, which passed the U.S. House but failed in the Senate.
Cottrell said Webster's healthcare plan isn't working.
"He (Webster) has been promising better and more affordable health care better than anything we had," Cottrell said. "The plan was coming through, nothing came through. It's been two years now, we have no health care plan."
Cottrell advocates for a Medicare for All plan, a buy-in option that would eliminate Medicaid. She also said that, as a woman, she is the better candidate to make decisions about women's healthcare.
Webster's campaign has raised $554,535 compared to Cottrell's $63,785, according to the latest fundraising records available. But 82 percent of the Congressman's contributions come from outside the district, while all of Cottrell's come from inside the district.
Cottrell said she and her team of 160 volunteers have worked tirelessly canvassing and attending community events to prepare for the election, she said.
"We have outreached to the community in every way, shape and form we can," Cottrell said.
Cottrell said she has attended "thousands" of events since February and has seen the incumbent at just three of them.
"Webster has lost touch with the Americans that he's supposed to represent," he said. "He does not talk to constituents."
Webster's campaign contributions tower over those of Cottrell, but only 18% of them came from inside of the district, while Cottrell's all come from District 11.
Webster said he hosts community listening sessions and has made an effort to reach out to residents.
"We have a great ground game," he said. "I do door to door. I also do postal station to postal station."
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly described Webster's residence within the district.