Democrat Stephanie Murphy will defeat incumbent Republican Rep. John L. Mica in Florida’s 7th District, The Associated Press projects.
Murphy led Mica 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting.
This was Mica’s first competitive re-election in decades. After the state Supreme Court redrew Florida’s congressional lines, his 7th District became more Democratic. And for the first time in years, Democrats succeeded in fielding a strong candidate against the 12-term incumbent.
Republicans fretted this fall that Mica wasn’t expending the time or resources to introduce himself to new voters in his redrawn district. He only recently aired his first TV spot, trailing Murphy and other Democratic groups that had been on the air earlier.
While Mica had previously coasted to double-digit victories, his nonchalance this year earned him a spot on Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable incumbents for the first time this October. Sensing his vulnerability, the National Republican Congressional Committee made a late investment in this race to try to hold the seat.
Murphy, the member-elect, was six months old when her parents fled with her and her brother from communist Vietnam to a refugee camp in Malaysia and then moved on to settle in the United States.
Her resume includes an executive position at SunGate Capital, an investment firm, and a stint at the Defense Department where she worked as a foreign affairs specialist on a range of issues, including military relations and national security.
She teaches business and social entrepreneurship at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.
A fiscal conservative with plans to join the Blue Dog Coalition, Murphy supports policies including withholding lawmakers’ salaries if they don’t pass a budget on time and adding a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.
Murphy has her eye on the Foreign Affairs or the Armed Services committee, where she wants to change how the government is investing in cyber security and intelligence operations.