TAMPA — Kathy Castor, first elected to Congress during the administration of former President George W. Bush, won her eighth term Tuesday, easily besting her Republican opponent, Christine Y. Quinn.
Castor netted slightly more than 60 percent of the vote with all 209 precincts reporting, according to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office at 9:15 p.m. The Associated Press declared Castor the winner earlier Tuesday evening.
In 2016, Castor beat Quinn by a 61-39 percent margin.
Quinn, an energetic supporter of President Donald Trump and a small-business owner, said her highest priority was education, specifically to return traditional learning like woodshop, music, art, sports and single-sex sex education.
The voters in the Democratic stronghold of the 14th Congressional District, which covers Tampa and adjacent western city and unincorporated county neighborhoods, ultimately didn’t respond to Quinn’s pitch. Castor has never faced a serious challenge since winning an open seat in 2006, when former Congressman Jim Davis retired.
Castor, an ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has pledged to pursue coronavirus relief money for her district and push for solutions to the county’s transportation problems. She is one of the senior members of Florida’s congressional delegation and was rewarded with a select committee chairmanship on climate change.
Heavily favored to win, with one local political consultant predicting a “slaughter,” Castor didn’t air many ads or plaster social media with reelection messages. She told the Times that she was frustrated about not being able to get out on the campaign trail because of the pandemic.
Quinn advertised heavily in the last days of the race, blasting Castor for what she characterized as the congresswoman’s reluctance to condemn unrest around the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May. She also pointed to Castor’s support for abortion rights as a reason to support her longshot campaign.
Castor thanked her supporters on a Zoom call Tuesday evening.