Republican Byron Donalds is projected to win a U.S. House seat that is held by Rep. Francis Rooney in the conservative stronghold of southwestern Florida. Donalds' victory ensures that House Republicans will have at least one Black member in 2021.

Donalds defeated Democratic nominee Cindy Banyai, a political science professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, in a race that he was heavily favored to win. Florida's 19th District includes Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples and Marco Island.

Rooney, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, had only held the seat for two terms and declined to run in 2020.

In August, Donalds won a tight nine-person primary race for the Republican nomination by less than 1%. He has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2016.

He drew attention in October after testing positive for COVID-19 shortly before he was set to attend a President Trump invitation-only event in Fort Myers.

“I was given a COVID-19 quick test, per White House staff protocol, and results were positive,” Donalds said in his Facebook post. “I proceeded to take a PCR antigen test, and those results have come back positive as well. My wife and oldest son were both tested today, and their results are negative. I currently feel fine, but am taking all necessary precautions and will be quarantining at home. We have notified the organizers of the events I have attended in recent days. I look forward to recovering fully and earning the support of voters on Nov. 3.”

Donalds, 42, will be the third Black Republican to represent Florida in the U.S. House. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Florida State University.

Most notably, Will Hurd, the U.S. House's last Black Republican member, previously announced that he would be retiring from Congress.