23-Year Republican Incumbent John Mica Loses Re-Election

You can thank redistricting and Donald Trump.

He didn’t have a campaign manager. He hardly distanced himself from Donald Trump. And he was battling a redrawn district.

The outcome was what you might have expected.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) lost re-election Tuesday to Democratic newcomer Stephanie Murphy, a 38-year-old businesswoman and professor who entered the race at the end of June.

Mica was caught flat-footed by Murphy, Trump and a redrawn district that cleaved about 25 percent of his constituents into somebody else’s jurisdiction. At a campaign event in late October, Mica told voters that he didn’t have a campaign manager and that he had “a terrible press operation.”

The former Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman, who currently serves as a subcommittee chairman on the Oversight Committee with a focus on transportation, tried to paint his opponent as the real Washington insider. He emphasized that Murphy, 38, grew up in Virginia and only moved to Florida in 2008. 

It didn’t work.

Mica, 73, is close to the very definition of a Washington politician, down to the toupee. He had a rocky tenure as Transportation chairman, and he appeared out of touch more than once this year as he struggled over how to handle Trump.

He was quick to criticize some of the GOP nominee’s more outrageous comments, but he was also dismissive of much of the criticism and didn’t seem to understand why things like Trump’s 2005 comments about forcibly kissing and groping women were such a big deal.

“I thought it was vulgar, reprehensible, locker room talk,” Mica said in October. “It happened 10 or 11 years ago, but it’s not acceptable. I will still support the Republican nominee.”

Murphy wasted no time tying Mica to Trump, and arguing that Washington was mired in gridlock and that it was time for a new voice from Central Florida.

“If we’re going to change Washington, we need to change the type of people we send there,” she said, according to Orlando Weekly.