Rep. Ross Spano loses Florida GOP primary amid campaign finance scrutiny | TheHill – The Hill

Rep. Ross SpanoVincent (Ross) Ross SpanoGaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker Hillicon Valley: Uber lays off 3,000 | FBI unlocks Pensacola shooter’s phones | Lawmakers introduce bill restricting purchase of airline equipment from Chinese companies Bipartisan bill would restrict purchases of airport equipment from Chinese companies MORE was defeated in the Republican primary for Florida’s 15th District on Tuesday, becoming the eighth House incumbent to lose their reelection bid this cycle.

City Commissioner Scott Franklin, a Navy veteran, scored the upset victory over Spano by winning 51 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Spano, who was first elected in 2018 after five-term Rep. Dennis RossDennis Alan RossIsraelis and Palestinians must realize that each needs to give, not just take Court opens door to annexing the West Bank — and the consequences could be disastrous The problem with Trump’s Middle East peace plan MORE (R) retired, has been the subject of an ongoing campaign finance investigation after he accepted $180,000 in loans from two friends in 2018 and treated it as his own money for his congressional campaign.

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Campaign finance rules allow candidates to loan any amount to their campaign from personal funds, but loans from others are treated like contributions and are limited to $2,700 per cycle.

Spano has acknowledged “mistakes” with the loans, calling them “inadvertent and unintentional.” He remains under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Florida Bar.

The incumbent GOP lawmaker maintained support from House GOP leaders and multiple other members of the Florida congressional delegation, including Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBelarus president says he would be open to handing over power after referendum Senate intel leaders said Trump associates may have presented misleading testimony during Russia probe: report Pressure builds on US to respond to brutal crackdown in Belarus MORE (R-Fla.), though Franklin earned an endorsement from staunch Trump ally Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMatt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid Gaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association – Progress slow on coronavirus bill MORE (R-Fla.) earlier this month.

Democrats have taken aim at the district, hoping Spano’s instability would help them turn the seat blue. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has listed the district as one of its top targets this election cycle.

Franklin will now take on Democratic nominee Alan Cohn, a TV reporter who unsuccessfully challenged Ross in 2014. Nonpartisan election handicapper The Cook Political Report rates the race “Lean Republican.”

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