Northwest Florida will have a new voice in Congress for the first time in 15 years come January, when Republican Matt Gaetz will take over for eight-term congressman Jeff Miller, who is retiring.

Gaetz edged out Democrat Steven Specht in Tuesday’s general election after topping a crowded Republican primary field in August. The Associated Press called the race for Gaetz at 7:17 p.m.

Incomplete results as of 8:00 p.m. show Gaetz leading Specht by more than 120,000 votes, taking 68% of the vote to Specht’s 32 percent.

Gaetz has represented much of Okaloosa County in the Florida House of Representatives since 2010. His father, Don Gaetz, is a state senator.

Florida’s first congressional district includes all of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties, as well as a portion of Holmes County. According to the Cook Political Report, the district is one of the most Republican-leaning congressional district in the nation, with a Partisan Voting Index of R+22, meaning Republicans have an average 22-percentage-point advantage over Democrats.


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