Ross Spano

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Ross Spano
Ross Spano, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 15th district
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byDennis Ross
Succeeded byScott Franklin
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 59th district
In office
November 6, 2012 – November 6, 2018
Preceded byRedistricted
Succeeded byAdam Hattersley
Personal details
Vincent Ross Spano

(1966-07-16) July 16, 1966 (age 54)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of South Florida (BA)
Florida State University (JD)

Vincent Ross Spano (born July 16, 1966) is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative from Florida's 15th congressional district. The district stretches from Lakeland to the northeastern suburbs of Tampa. A Republican, he was first elected to Congress in the 2018 elections. He ran for reelection in the 2020 election but was defeated in the Republican primary.


Ross Spano was born in Tampa and currently lives in nearby Dover. He graduated from Brandon High School. He later attended the University of South Florida, where he graduated with a BA in history in 1994, and the Florida State University College of Law, receiving a JD cum laude in 1998, where he was a member of the FSU moot court team and the FSU Journal of Transnational Law and Policy. Ross Spano was admitted to the Florida bar the same year.

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

In 2012, following the reconfiguration of the Florida House of Representatives districts, Spano ran in the newly created 59th District, and faced Joe Wicker, Betty Jo Tompkins, and Mike Floyd in the Republican primary. He emerged victorious with 40% of the vote, with Wicker close behind having 38% of the vote. Spano ran in the general election against the Democratic nominee, Gail Gottlieb. Spano defeated Gottlieb with 51% of the vote, coming out ahead by 1,051 votes.[1]

In the Florida House of Representatives, Spano serves on the Choice and Innovation Subcommittee, Civil Justice Subcommittee, Health Quality Subcommittee, Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee, and Judiciary Committee. Ross Spano also served on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission during his tenure in the Florida House.

While serving in the legislature Spano authored numerous pieces of human trafficking legislation. He sponsored a bill to allow judges "to vacate certain criminal convictions if the offender can prove that they committed them under duress," as would happen in a situation in which someone had been illegally trafficked.[2]

In 2017, Spano sponsored a resolution declaring that the viewing of pornography was causing a "public health crisis."[3]

US House of Representatives[edit]



In 2018, Spano ran to represent Florida's 15th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Neil Combee in the Republican primary, winning approximately 44% of the votes to Combee's 34%.[4] Spano went on to face Democratic candidate Kristen Carlson in the general election. Spano defeated Carlson, receiving 53% of the vote to Carlson's 47%.[5] It was the closest race in the district in 26 years, when Charles Canady only won by five points in 1992 in what was then the 12th District. Additionally, it was only the fourth time that a Democrat had managed 40 percent of the vote in the district since Andy Ireland switched parties in 1984 in what was then the 10th District (it was renumbered the 12th in 1992, and has been the 15th since 2013).[citation needed]

During Spano's election to the House of Representatives in 2018, he loaned his campaign more than $100,000 from what he reported as personal funds - a move that drew media attention as financial disclosures forms filed by Spano indicated that he did not have the necessary funds to loan himself the reported amount. It was later reported that Spano had been lent the money by friends.[6][7] In December 2018, Spano wrote in a news release that his campaign financing "may have been in violation of the Federal Campaign Finance Act".[8] In November 2019, it was reported that the Justice Department was conducting a criminal investigation into Spano over possible campaign finance violations. Spano has denied any wrongdoing.[9]


In August 2020, Spano narrowly lost the primary for renomination by the Republican Party to Scott Franklin.[10][11]


Spano gained attention when he quoted civil rights leader Coretta Scott King to explain his opposition to the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; King was a leading supporter of LGBT rights.[12]

On December 18, 2019, Spano voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump. Of the 195 Republicans who voted, all voted against both impeachment articles.[citation needed]

In December 2020, Spano was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[13] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[14][15][16]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." Additionally, Pelosi reprimanded Spano and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: "The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions."[17][18]

Committee assignments[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

2018, Florida's 15th congressional district, Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ross Spano 26,868 44.1
Republican Neil Combee 20,577 33.8
Republican Sean Harper 6,013 9.9
Republican Danny Kushmer 4,061 6.7
Republican Ed Shoemaker 3,377 5.5
Total votes 60,896 100.0
Florida's 15th congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ross Spano 151,380 53.0
Democratic Kristen Carlson 134,132 47.0
Independent Dave Johnson (write-in) 15 0.0
Independent Jeffrey G. Rabinowitz (write-in) 3 0.0
Independent Alek Bynzar (write-in) 2 0.0
Total votes 285,532 100.0
Republican hold

Primary results[edit]

2020, Florida's 15th congressional district, Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Scott Franklin 30,718 51.2
Republican Ross Spano (incumbent) 29,240 48.8
Total votes 59,958 100.0


  1. ^ "Ross Spano "excited" to have Dem contender for District 59 race". St. Petersburg Times. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  2. ^ Johnston, Caitlin (April 18, 2014). "Human trafficking issue rises to the forefront". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Perry, Mitch. "Ross Spano files bill declaring pornography a 'public health crisis'". Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  4. ^ Roldan, Roberto. "Ross Spano Beats Out Neil Combee To Be Republican Nominee For U.S. Rep Seat". Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Taylor, Langston. "Florida election results: Follow Governor, U.S. Senate and all races here". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  6. ^ March, William. "So where exactly did Ross Spano get more than $100,000 in his bid for Congress?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  7. ^ March, William. "Missing: Ross Spano's financial disclosure required to run for Congress". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  8. ^ March, William. "Ross Spano acknowledges possible 'violation' of campaign finance law". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  9. ^ Bresnahan, John (November 14, 2019). "DOJ investigating GOP Rep. Ross Spano over alleged campaign-finance violations". Politico. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  10. ^ Weigel, David (August 19, 2020). "Rep. Spano, facing probe of possible 2018 campaign finance violations, is ousted in Florida GOP primary". Washington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (August 19, 2020). "Representative Ross Spano Loses Florida Republican Primary". New York Times. Miami. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Contorno, Steve (May 17, 2019). "How Florida members of Congress voted on historic LGBTQ protection bill". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  13. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  14. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  16. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  17. ^ Smith, David (December 12, 2020). "Supreme court rejects Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn election results". The Guardian. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  18. ^ "Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Rejecting GOP Election Sabotage Lawsuit" (Press release). Speaker Nancy Pelosi. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.

External links[edit]

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by
Betty Reed
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 59th district

Succeeded by
Adam Hattersley
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dennis Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
Scott Franklin