Mast, Keith square off in 18th Congressional District race

Mast, Keith square off in 18th Congressional District race

The stage is set for an election day showdown for Florida’s District 18 Congressional seat.

Republican incumbent Rep. Brian Mast is squaring off against Democrat Pam Keith for the seat that represents Martin and St. Lucie counties, as well as a portion of northern Palm Beach County.

Rep. Mast, a U.S. Army veteran who took office in 2017, has been a proponent of improving water quality in Florida, strengthening national security and safety, and giving veterans better access to health care.

Mast serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as the Foreign Affairs Committee.

According to his campaign website, during his time in office, Mast has sponsored two pieces of legislation that have been signed into law: one that allows reserve military physicians and reserve military chaplains to serve beyond the mandatory retirement age of 68 if they are deemed "necessary for the needs of the military department concerned," as well as a bill that expands "military housing benefits to Foreign Service Officers who temporarily lose housing allowance while on mandatory Home Leave Status."

The Republican incumbent was criticized earlier this year after it was revealed that he joked about rape and referenced sex with 15-year-old girls in an old Facebook comment to a friend.

Mast apologized for his "vile" and "disgusting" comments during an interview with WPTV anchor Michael Williams in August, but resisted calls to resign and went on to say that he has "grown" since his days serving in the Army.

RELATED: Rep. Brian Mast, Pam Keith trade barbs during hourlong debate on WPTV

Keith, an attorney and former U.S. Navy lawyer, has received several high-profile endorsements, including former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

According to her campaign website, Keith said she'll fight for "quality affordable health care" for all Americans, adding that she wants to build upon the Affordable Care Act "by adding Medicare to the health care exchange" and "lowering the age of Medicare availability to 55."

Keith also said she supports funding to divert water south of Lake Okeechobee into the Everglades, thus preventing toxic algae blooms in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon

The Democrat has called Mast's comments about rape "unacceptable and dishonorable."

Independent K.W. Miller is also on the ballot for Florida's District 18 Congressional seat.

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