U.S. House Florida District 16 results: Vern Buchanan defeats David Shapiro

Buchanan easily defeats Democratic challenger in House 16
Published Nov. 7, 2018|Updated Nov. 7, 2018
  • Vern Buchanan has defeated David Shapiro, who called to concede shortly before 8:30 p.m..
  • The reported results encompass the early vote, mail-in ballots and precincts in Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties on election day.
  • More election results:

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchnan,  a Republican from Longboat Key, has won a seventh term as the U.S. Rep. from Florida's 16th Congressional District. He easily defeated Democratic challenger David Shapiro, a Sarasota attorney.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m., Shapiro called his opponent to concede defeat.

"I'm really humbled by this huge win," said Buchanan. "We have focused on issues over the years and people  are responding to that. We introduced 16 different bills that became laws that people care about. This race has been about our performance."

Buchanan discounted any effect President Donald Trump may have had on the race.

"I think in my area, I kind of built my own brand," he said. "I have worked with President Bush, President Obama and now Presidente Trump. A lot of people know me and realize I have a history of delivering on things that matter to them."

Shapiro said that his "campaign stood for something. We fought for healthcare, Social Security, Medicare, and our environment. We fought for the rights of others and to make our government more just and fair. "

Buchanan, 67,  owns several car dealerships and is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. Shapiro, 58,  made only his second foray into elective politics. He previously ran for the Florida House in 2006, barely losing to Republican Doug Holder in a heavily Republican district.

With the spotlight on Congressional races as the Democrats work to win back the House, huge amounts of money poured in. Buchanan raised more than $2.7 million in contributions while Shapiro raised more than $2.4 million.

The district was created in 2010 after a lengthy and contentious redistricting battle. A swath of Hillsborough County south of the Alafia River is now in District 16, a heavily Republican district that also includes all of Manatee County and part of Sarasota County.

In interviews, both Democrats and Republicans in the district said while they are interested in local issues, this vote is as much a referendum on President Donald Trump as anything else.

On the issues, each candidate maintained a sharply partisan approach, differences highlighted during their lone appearance together during a televised debate in the Sarasota studios of WWSB-TV. Buchanan supported the 2017 tax cut measure and has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Shapiro, meanwhile, opposed the tax cut and supported the Affordable Care Act.

During the campaign, Shapiro attacked Buchanan for his vote on the tax measure. Known as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the measure, among other things, reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It is one of a number of decisions in Congress, like Buchanan's votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that have animated Democratic opposition nationwide.

Buchanan has played up his working class background, pointing out he was the oldest of six children raised in Detroit by parents who worked in a factory.

Buchanan said President Donald Trump, who championed a tax cut, "does get some credit" for the growth.

Shapiro railed against the tax cut, saying many families he sees as an attorney "don't have stock portfolios. It's not really helping them in any way, shape or form."

With red tide and the algae bloom devastating the environment, the two men have sparred over how to best fix the problem.

During their lone debate, Buchanan scoffed at a question about whether he should return campaign contributions from the sugar industry, which Shapiro blamed for aggravating the algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee.

NOTE: This story has been changed to reflect complete vote totals.

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