Tom Rooney's U.S. House of Representatives District 17 seat will stay red with a win by Greg Steube, a former Florida District 23 state senator.
The race for Rooney's seat has been dramatic, including three Republican candidates ganging up against each other in the primary, to the untimely death of Democrat candidate April Freeman. Though Freeman's name was still on the ballot, Freeman's votes went to newcomer Allen Ellison.
With 206 of 234 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Steube received 62.1 percent of the vote, or 186,817 votes. Ellison received 37.9 percent of the vote, or 113,777 votes.
"From day one, this campaign has been about bringing real conservative reforms to Washington that will help hard-working Floridians across this district and across our great state," Steube said Tuesday night. "It is imperative that Congress fix our broken borders and immigration system, protect our economy, and ensure that the sacred rights we proudly enjoy as Americans are safeguarded at every step of the way."
During his editorial meeting with the Sun, Steube said he wanted to be a part of committees focused on agriculture, since District 17 "has more cattle than people" and is the top citrus-producing district. With his gun in his holster, Steube advocated for gun-free zones to protect citizens' Second Amendment rights.
"I'm proud of the campaign that we've run and the enthusiasm felt from all of the people around the district. It has truly been a humbling experience to learn about the issues that matter to so many," Ellison said Tuesday night. "Whether in Congress or in the private sector, there is much work that we can do together."
"What people should focus on is the results Republicans have had in the recent years in Florida," Steube said. When working with Democrats, Steube said he would compromise on some issues, if there are any he agrees with. But "everything the Democrats are putting out aren't things I'm going to support," he told the Sun Thursday, citing Nancy Pelosi as a major hurdle for the GOP.
"My focus would be to try to get candidates back in the seats we lost," he said.
While campaigning, Ellison was skeptical of Steube's overwhelming support of Trump. "You are representative of the people of your district, the people of this country. You should never go into Congress with the sole aim to represent the President."
"I could not be more eager to get started and help President Trump continue to Make America Great Again! God Bless you, your families, and our great country," Steube said Tuesday night.
As for 2020, Ellison plans to run again for the seat.
"A 2020 run has always been the goal," he said. "With a full fledge campaign, adequate time and resources, we know that we can chart a path to victory."