Incumbent Rep. Daniel Webster of Clermont appeared to once again easily keep his seat in Congress, defeating Democrat Dana Cottrell of Spring Hill in her second attempt to unseat the veteran politician.
Webster had more than 66 percent of the vote with a majority of precincts reporting just after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Webster and Cottrell were running in U.S. House District 11. Created in 2016 by redistricting, the GOP-leaning district includes Citrus, Hernando and Sumter counties and parts of Lake and Marion counties. The district includes the Villages and has the largest share of seniors in the country.
This is the second time Cottrell has challenged Webster, who won his seat with 65 percent of the vote in 2018. Webster raised more than $645,000, compared to roughly $55,000 by Cottrell.
Webster, the owner of Webster Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., has had a long career in Florida politics. In 1996, he became the first Republican speaker of the Florida House in 122 years. He was elected to the Florida Senate in 1998 and served as majority leader his final three years.
Webster was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010 in Florida’s 8th Congressional District. In 2013, he won election to the U.S. House in Florida’s newly redrawn 10th Congressional District. In 2016, Webster was elected to represent Florida’s 11th Congressional District after redistricting affected more than 60 percent of his former constituency.
Cottrell, 51, is a teacher from Spring Hill. She had stressed that her 28 years of experience as an employee in a low-paying profession makes her better able to understand and act as a champion for average Americans. She was also a harsh critic of Webster’s support for President Trump.
U.S. House terms are two years and pay $174,000 a year.
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