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Florida Congressman Mica Triumphs over Adams in "Most Negative Campaign Ever"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 09:09 AM

John Mica on primary night (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Veteran Florida congressman John Mica, the chairman of the House transportation committee, successfully fought off challenger Sandy Adams in Tuesday's Republican primary.

Mica says Adams put him through the most negative campaign ever. Reapportionment left Mica and Adams -- who currently represents Space Coast-based District 24 --  battling for the same seat.

“We tried to stay positive and respond where we could," said Mica, "but it was probably the most negative campaign I’ve ever had to experience and made it very unpleasant for me and my family.”

In the weeks leading to the election, Tea Party favorite Sandy Adams piled on the pressure, labeling Mica a big spending, establishment Republican -- as well as a cheerleader for President Obama.

(photo by Matthew Peddie)

But Mica won by a wide margin in the end, capturing 61% of the vote.

“I don’t think we’ve every mobilized anything like this in our lives," he told supporters at a sports bar just north of Orlando on Tuesday night. "It was a very difficult race. I could tell you that everything but the kitchen sink was thrown at us but I’d have to include the cabinets and all the appliances too.”

He said his victory showed "the heart and soul of the Republican Party is doing fine in Central Florida."

University of Central Florida Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett said he wasn’t surprised at the vitriol in the race.

“Certainly it’s been negative, certainly it’s been personal, but that often happens in primaries where the candidates are very much alike on policy," said Jewett. "These two people are very conservative Republicans when it comes to policy.”

Jewett said what was unusual about the race was the fact that redistricting put two incumbent Republicans in the same district.

“It’s just virtually unheard of in the country that in a state where you gained two seats -- Florida now has two more congressional seats than it did before -- that you end up with two fairly high profile, popular Republicans in the same district. I mean it just doesn’t happen."

Jewett said the nature of the race forced Mica to downplay his record of helping to bring big projects to the district -- like the SunRail commuter train -- which are usually selling points for an incumbent.

(photo by Matthew Peddie)

Speaking at her campaign headquarters in Maitland, Sandy Adams said she was pleased the race brought the focus back to conservative values. She told Central Florida News 13 she's unsure of her political future.

"I’m a firm believer that when one door closes another one opens and I follow the path I’m led. So we’ll see.”

Mica, who heads the influential House Transportation Committee, says he wants to continue in that role -- but that’s up to House leadership.

He says he also plans to continue with a campaign to cut unnecessary spending in government.

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