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Spano loses in Florida primary; Lummis wins in Wyoming

A resident of Palm Beach County places a ballot in the lockbox located at the Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
A resident of Palm Beach County places a ballot in the lockbox located at the Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Rep. Ross Spano lost in Florida, making him the eighth House incumbent to lose the primary this cycle, and former Rep. Cynthia Lummis became Wyoming's first female GOP candidate for the Senate as the two states held primaries on Tuesday.

Florida

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Spano lost the Republican nomination for Florida's 15th Congressional District to Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin as the freshman representative's first term has been mired by a Justice Department investigation into an ethics violation.

Spano, 54, lost the tight contest by roughly 1,500 ballots as Franklin, 55, earned 51% of the vote and will now face Democrat Alan Cohn, who hopes to flip the seat blue in November.

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Spano's loss occurred as the Justice Department continues an investigation launched last year into allegations the lawmaker used $180,000 in loans from friends to fund his campaign, a violation of Federation Election Commission rules that limit individual donations to $2,800 each election.

"We acknowledged that mistakes were made with respect to the campaign loans, but those mistakes were completely inadvertent and unintentional," Spano said at the time, but the issue was pounced on by Franklin, who produced advertisements emphasizing the Justice Department's investigation.

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Spano is the eighth House incumbent to lose the nomination to a party challenger this primary cycle.

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In the 19th Congressional District, nine Republican candidates vied for retiring Rep. Francis Rooney's seat, with the Florida Republican Party declaring Byron Donalds the winner.

"Congratulations, Byron Donalds on your HUGE victory," the party said on Twitter. "We look forward to a proven Conservative serving Southwest Florida in Congress."

Donalds, 41, also claimed victory on Twitter in a tight race that WGCU reported he leads by fewer than 800 votes.

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"Today, we proved the Republican Party is for everyone -- even a poor Black kid who grew up in Brooklyn," Donalds said on Twitter.

Donalds will go up against Cindy Banyai who bested David Holden for the Democratic nomination with 58% of the vote.

Banyai, 40, said in a statement that she is "proud" to be the Democratic nominee and that now is the time "for us to come together and work to flip this seat."

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Wyoming

Cynthia Lummis, 65, won the GOP nomination for retiring Sen. Mike Enzi's seat over nine other Republican candidates.

"To be the first woman to secure the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Wyoming on the same day we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment is particularly special," Lummis said in a statement, referring to the amendment to the Constitution that guarantees women the right to vote. "Wyoming's pioneering history of 'women firsts' is a point of pride for all of us. Should I be elected in November, I will be proud to share in a small piece of this history."

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Lummis served in the House four terms until not seeking re-election in 2016. She received Enzi's endorsement and that of President Donald Trump, who tweeted that Lummis was "a friend of mine and a great woman."

"She will be a great senator, and has my complete and total endorsement," the president said.

Merav Ben-David, a 61-year-old University of Wyoming professor and climate activist, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday on a campaign that pledged to put science back in the Senate.

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