Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

National Democrats target Ross Spano, Vern Buchanan for ‘retirement’ in 2020

The Tampa Bay area representatives are among 18 Republicans that will get special attention in the next election.
Published Feb. 19, 2019

Fresh off a midterm election where they won 40 Congressional seats, Democrats are plotting where they can pad their majority in the House of Representatives. And they’re eyeing two districts in Florida.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named U.S. Reps. Ross Spano of Dover and Vern Buchanan of Sarasota to its “2020 Retirement Watch List." The list includes 18 Republicans in competitive districts that the DCCC says may want to reconsider running for re-election.

RELATED: Ross Spano, facing investigation into 2018 campaign, files for re-election in 2020

So where exactly did Ross Spano get more than $100,000 in his bid for Congress?

Will Ross Spano face an investigation into campaign loans before he even gets to Congress?

Here’s a short history of Ross Spano’s campaign spending

Ross Spano goes to Washington … under a cloud of controversy

It’s a tongue-in-cheek suggestion, albeit, one that is grounded somewhat in reality. More than 30 Republicans in the House and Senate retired ahead of the 2018 election, an astounding number. Those retirements foreshadowed the blue “wave” election that gave Democrats control of the House.

“Whether it’s waking up each morning to read the president’s tweets that they’ll be answering for or slowly coming to the realization that they aren’t in control any more, we expect to see a steady stream of frustrated Washington Republicans heading for the exits,” said Mike Gwin, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman. “Retirements played a major role as Democrats won back the House last year and, in 2020, we expect Republican retirements to aid our effort to expand the Democratic House Majority.”

Of the 16 people on the DCCC’s 2018 retirement list, six remain in Congress.

The wave, though, didn’t crash into Florida shores as hard as it did elsewhere. Republicans here maintained control of the governorship and flipped a Senate seat in races that ended in recounts, while Democrats made modest gains in the GOP-controlled Legislature and netted two Congressional seats.

Both Spano and Buchanan coasted to victory. Both districts have grown more competitive with each passing election.

Buchanan won his district — which spans Sarasota, Manatee and south Hillsborough counties — by 23 points in 2014. He defeated David Shapiro 54.6 percent to 45.4 last November.

Meanwhile, Spano topped Democrat Kristen Carlson, 53 percent to 47 in District 15 in eastern Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties. Just two years prior, Republican Dennis Ross won that seat by 15 percentage points.

It’s no surprise Democrats have targeted Spano in 2020. The former state lawmaker joined the 116th Congress under the dark cloud of scandal for $180,000 in potentially illegal campaign contributions he received from two friends during his campaign. Spano acknowledged his campaign erred, and he could face multiple investigations.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. In this June 17, 2019, file photo, a cashier displays a packet of tobacco-flavored Juul pods at a store in San Francisco. Investigators from 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by Juul Labs, including whether the company targeted youths and made misleading claims about nicotine content in its devices, officials announced Tuesday. Juul released a statement saying it has halted television, print and digital advertising and eliminated most flavors in response to concerns by government officials and others.  (AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado, File) [SAMANTHA MALDONADO  |  AP]
  2. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during First in the South Dinner, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) [MATT ROURKE  |  AP]
  3. Airbnb app on a phone: The company faces a fight with regulators.
  4. In this Feb. 19 photo, from left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. [JOHN LOCHER  |  AP]
  5. Melody Keeth, the former chair of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, testifies in the Florida House on Monday about how she and the board approved $7.5M in compensation to the nonprofit's former CEO. [Florida Channel]
  6. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign event on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP) [NICK WAGNER  |  AP]
  7. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt. speaks at a campaign event in El Paso, Texas, on Feb. 22, 2020. [CEDAR ATTANASIO  |  AP]
  8. Sen. Audrey Gibson, leader of the Florida Senate Democrats, introduces a bill in January to refocus the $900 million proposed for teacher pay into salaries for all public school employees. It's just one of many ideas still floating around Tallahassee relating to educator raises. [The Florida Channel]
  9. Ten current and former members of the board of directors of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and two top executives have been asked to testify to a Florida House committee about a pay scandal. The hearings begin today. [SAMANTHA J. GROSS | Times/Herald]
  10. Bernie Sanders defends his 1980s comments on 60 Minutes regarding Fidel Castro. [Twitter]
  11. Democratic candidate for president Mike Bloomberg in Tampa for a campaign rally in January. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  12. Tiffany Carr, the former executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, at a 2004 news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush. [PHIL COALE  |  AP]
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement