Eagle endorses Donalds after official win for Republican District 19 nomination

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
State Rep. Dane Eagle (right) endorsed Republican Byron Donalds for U.S. Florida District 19 Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020 after Donalds officially won the nomination by a close margin in the 2020 Florida primary. (Credit: WINK News)

Byron Donalds was officially declared the Republican nominee for U.S. House Florida District 19 Wednesday after a very close race.

The officials count shows Donalds achieved the nomination with a total of 774 votes over Eagle, a 0.7% lead for the victory. Eagle endorsed Donalds as the winner.

The polls showed Donalds led by 1% of the vote for the nomination over State Rep. Dane Eagle election night Tuesday, so the Associated Press waited until the next day to declare the victor.

We spoke to Byron Donalds, Dane Eagle and other Republicans Wednesday about the race for District 19 moving forward.

“Byron got the most votes. Bryon is our nominee,” Eagle said. “And I am proud to endorse Byron Donalds for Congress because he is going to lead us.”

Eagle is celebrating the man who beat him by a razor-thin margin in the Republican race for Congress. But he did not undersell the effort he and his campaign staff put in during the race for nomination.

“I would say we worked harder than anybody else,” Eagle said. “There was a lot of money in the race, and we knew we were outspent, but we came at a very, very close second.”

The Donalds campaign spent nearly double the amount of Eagle’s campaign, and that doesn’t include the political action committees that pumped hundreds of thousands into the race, mostly in support of Donalds.

“I’m thrilled that he will be a good congressman,” said Doris Cortes, the vice chairman of the Lee County Republican Party. “I wasn’t thrilled that he won.”

And the Trump campaign’s senior advisor told us she likes the result.

“I was down in Naples not long ago, and I remember seeing his ads up where he was saying that he was a Trump conservative,” Mercedes Schlapp said. “So we are very excited about that win.”

“Our goal is to regain the House of Representatives, Schlapp said. “We want to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi back to San Francisco.”

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