Republican John Mica’s 24-year-long tenure as a U.S. Congressman came to an end on Tuesday as Democratic challenger Stephanie Murphy pulled off a victory to take the seat for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
Murphy captured 51.43 percent of the total votes with 181,003 votes, according to unofficial election results from myflorida.com
Her victory was a result of strong numbers in Orange County, where she captured 57.82 percent of the votes with 77,470 votes.
Unofficial Seminole County Election results show that Mica was able to capture 52.45 percent of the vote with 114,632, but that wouldn’t be enough to make up for the deficit in the neighboring county.
In conceding the defeat Tuesday night, Mica reflected on a lifetime of work that brought him to Congress.
"You're looking at someone who has had such exceptional opportunity in his life," Mica said. "I didn't have some silver spoon opportunity like some have. I've washed a lot of dishes, parked a lot of cars. It took me seven years to get that degree. I've just been blessed in life."
In winning Tuesday’s election, Murphy also became the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress.
“When we began this campaign, few people thought we could win,” said Murphy, an instructor at Rollins College and a former national security specialist at the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
“We certainly had an uphill climb, but we got in this race to focus on the issues. We wanted to protect women’s rights. We wanted to stand up for our seniors and our veterans. We wanted to make our community safer by passing common sense gun safety measures.”
She told a group of spectators at her post-election party in Maitland that it was the Pulse Night Club shooting that inspired her to run and bring about much needed change.
“We didn’t want to just make a difference, we wanted to make a point,” Murphy said. “Tonight we made our point loud and clear: that dysfunction and deadlock will no longer be tolerated.”
“It’s a new day in Central Florida.”