Congressional incumbents line up for re-election bids

With the start of qualifying Monday, 19 incumbent U.S. House members immediately put themselves on the ballot for this fall’s elections.

Challengers and candidates for two open seats also started getting on the ballot during a congressional qualifying period that started at noon Monday and will last until noon Friday.

As of early Monday afternoon, the incumbents who had qualified were Republicans Matt Gaetz, John Rutherford, Michael Waltz, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Greg Steube, Brian Mast and Mario Diaz-Balart and Democrats Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Val Demings, Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala.

Among the non-incumbents who qualified were state Rep. Adam Hattersley, a Riverview Democrat who is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla. Also, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez qualified to run against Mucarsel-Powell.

Only two incumbents --- North Florida Republican Ted Yoho and Southwest Florida Republican Francis Rooney --- have said they are not running for reelection this year. Republicans Ryan Chamberlin and Judson Sapp and Democrat Philip Dodds quickly qualified for Yoho’s seat, while Republicans Casey Askar, Daniel Kowal and Christy McLaughlin and write-in candidate Patrick Post qualified for Rooney’s seat.