Previewing Florida’s 15th Congressional District Republican primary

Incumbent Rep. Ross Spano faces Scott Franklin in Florida’s 15th Congressional District Republican primary on August 18.

Spano’s campaign website says he “continues to fight for families and small businesses in Washington, looking for ways to reduce burdensome regulations on small businesses and allowing them to invest, grow and create jobs.”  Franklin, who serves on the Lakeland City Commission, said he would advance the Trump agenda and “earn back the trust, respect and integrity the people of Central Florida deserve.”

Spano’s endorsers include Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) recently endorsed Franklin.

The Federal Election Commission received complaints that Spano had loaned his 2018 campaign $167,000 that he borrowed from friends, in violation of contribution limits. In November 2019, the Justice Department and House Ethics Committee began federal probes into the alleged violation. On February 10, the Florida Bar announced it would also investigate. Spano said the loan likely violated campaign finance law but said it was a mistake.

Spano was first elected to the House in 2018, defeating Democrat Kristen Carlson 53% to 47%. Three election forecasters rate the general election Lean Republican.