LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Lakeland city commissioner Scott Franklin didn’t expect to end the year as a congressman-elect but that is what happened.

Franklin, a Republican, beat Democrat Alan Cohn in the U.S. House District 15 race.

The district represents portions of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties, which is where Franklin lives.

His journey to Washington began in February.

Incumbent Rep. Ross Spano is being investigated by the FBI for allegations of campaign finance violations.

“We were concerned about the seat. We were really worried we could lose it. It’s been a strongly held conservative seat for decades, just didn’t want that to change,” Franklin said.

Franklin, who served as a naval aviator, secured endorsements from Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Rep. Matt Gaetz.

On election night, Franklin beat Cohn by more than 11 points.

“The first thing we got to do is get the country back to work, we got to get the vaccine out there. We got to start healing people, get through COVID. We had a good strong economy before. I think the country was in a good position. We’ve got to regain that. We got to start bringing people back together,” he said.

Franklin resigned from Lakeland city commission effective Jan. 3.

His term ends at the end of 2021.

Former city commissioner Don Selvage will fill the vacancy until a special election is held.