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Democrats eye 15th Congressional District for 2020

Despite Ross Spano's 6-point victory earlier this month, Democrats think they could have a shot in 2020.
Democrats Kristen Carlson, Andrew Learned and Bob Doyel (not pictured) are eying the Congressional seat just won by Ross Spano.
Democrats Kristen Carlson, Andrew Learned and Bob Doyel (not pictured) are eying the Congressional seat just won by Ross Spano.
Published Nov. 28, 2018|Updated Nov. 28, 2018

The race for Congressional District 15 in east Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties wasn't all that close — Republican Ross Spano beat Democrat Kristen Carlson by 6 points — but Democrats still think they could have a shot at the district in 2020.

At least three are eying the seat: Carlson; her Democratic primary opponent Andrew Learned; and Bob Doyel, who lost in a challenge to Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

Doyel, a retired Polk County judge, said he intends to stay involved in politics and the race "is one of the many things I might do. Somebody's going to run. We'll field a good candidate — I just don't know who it will be."

Carlson said she expects to decide after the beginning of the year, and thinks her loss was in part the result of a late start — she didn't enter the race until former Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, announced his resignation in April.

Questions that arose over potential Spano campaign violations in this election also could affect the 2020 race, she said.

Learned, a favorite of the progressive side of the party, said supporters are trying to convince him to run again, and, "I'm keeping my options open. It's too soon to decide."