Banyai/Donalds Win Primaries for SWFL Congressional Seat
Republican State Rep. Byron Donalds and Democrat Cindy Banyai each defeated primary challengers in Tuesday’s election contest for Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat.
The district includes coastal regions of Lee and Collier Counties including Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Matlacha, Pine Island, and Sanibel and Captiva islands.
Donalds, of Naples, was the only black candidate in the GOP primary. It was a tight race in a crowded field of candidates with Donalds earning 23% of the vote. Just 774 votes behind Donalds, fellow State House Rep. and House Majority Leader Dane Eagle came in with 22% of the vote. Naples businessman Casey Askar took 20 percent of the vote and Naples urologist Dr. William Figlesthaler garnered 18%.
The remainder of the Republican candidates including Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, Christy McLaughlin, Dan Severson, Darren Aquino and Daniel Kowal all received less than ten percent of the vote.
On the Democratic side, Cindy Banyai defeated David Holden by a margin of about 58 to 42 percent of the vote. Banyai is Founder and Principal Consultant of Banyai Evaluation and Consulting, LLC, and an FGCU adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science & Public Administration.
Holden, a Naples financial advisor, won the Democratic Primary election for the congressional seat in 2016, but lost the general election to incumbent Republican Francis Rooney. Rooney is not seeking reelection after serving two terms.
Banyai and Donalds will now face off in the Nov. 3 general election along with write-in candidate Patrick Post.
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