LAKELAND, Fla. — State representative Ross Spano of Hillsborough County was the winner in the Republican District 15 congressional primary. 

  • Ross Spano wins District 15 primary  
  • Spano defeated Neil Combee
  • Spano overcame controversy with Polk Sheriff Grady Judd
  • FULL Election results

He claimed nearly 44-percent of the vote compared to 34-percent for 2nd place finisher Neil Combee. 

District 15 is currently represented by Republican Dennis Ross who decided not to seek another term in office. The district has been seen as a Republican stronghold and Spano expects it to stay that way. 

District 15 covers parts of Hillsborough and Polk counties, including Brandon and Plant City and Lakeland. Spano will face Democrat Kristen Carlson, a Tampa attorney, in the general election in November.

"I'm positive, optimistic about it. I think the district is very suburban, rural, in some cases agricultural," he said. "So I still think it's a conserve district. As we know it's a likely Republican seat may lean depending on who you talk to."

Spano overcame a last minute controversy with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Judd was upset by a Spano campaign mailer with a picture of himself and Spano with a quote from the sheriff calling Spano a hero. 

It was an accurate quote made by the sheriff when he and Spano appeared to promote school safety proposals that would be heard in the legislature. 

Spano didn't wind up voting for legislation Judd supported.

Judd felt the ad implied that he was endorsing Spano when he had declined to do so.