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Ross Spano wants no coronavirus funds to help provide abortions.


Ross Spano extends temporary campaign suspension amid ongoing coronavirus worry

Spano faces his first reelection campaign against one Republican.

Congressman Ross Spano is extending his temporary campaign suspension amid ongoing fears of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its spread.

“I will continue to focus solely on providing the necessary resources to help my constituents stay healthy and to revive the economy by assisting small businesses, employees, and families,” Spano said.

Spano first announced he was temporarily suspending all campaign-related activity on March 16. He didn’t say how long the extension to that plan would continue.

Spano represents Florida’s 15th Congressional District in east Hillsborough County. He’s seeking his first reelection after first winning the seat in 2018.

Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin, also a Republican, filed to run against Spano the same week Spano announced his campaign suspension, a move Spano heavily criticized at the time.

“My approach to public service has always been People not Politics. Yesterday, I announced a temporary pause to my campaign to fully address this public health crisis related to COVID-19. I find it unsettling that Scott Franklin would choose to launch a campaign during these trying times,” Spano said.

Two Democrats are also vying to replace him including Rep. Adam Hattersley and former ABC 7 Sarasota newsman Alan Cohn.

If Spano wins the primary election against Franklin he will take on the winner of the Democratic primary in what is likely to be a difficult reelection campaign for the incumbent.

Spano faces an onslaught of criticism stemming from illegal loans he accepted from friends during his 2018 campaign. Spano borrowed $70,000 from Karen Hunt and $110,000 from Cary Carreno through four personal loans. He then contributed the money to Ross Spano for Congress through installments between May 3 and Oct. 29.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has consistently made Spano’s loans an issue in the race, which is one of the DCCC’s top 2020 targets to flip blue.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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