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Republican Byron Donalds wins US House seat held by Rooney

By CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Republican state Rep. Byron Donalds has been elected to the U.S. House seat now held by Florida Republican Francis Rooney.

Donalds defeated Democrat Cindy Lyn Banyai in the heavily Republican southwest Florida district. He will become only the third Black Republican to represent the state in the U.S. House. The first was Josiah Walls, elected in 1870 when Florida had only one House seat. The other was Allen West, who served from 2011-2013.

Rooney is retiring from the House after two terms.

Donalds, a financial adviser, was first elected to the state House in 2016 and served as chairman of the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.

Banyai is a former professional boxer who runs a community development consulting firm.