Rep. John Mica defeated Rep. Sandy Adams in a member-versus member primary in Florida on Tuesday, while another of the state’s Republicans, Rep. Cliff Stearns, appeared to have lost in a shocker.
Mica, the chairman of the House transportation committee and a 19-year incumbent, beat the freshman Adams after tea party groups declined to take an active role on her behalf.
In Stearns’s district, meanwhile, the incumbent trailed veterinarian Ted Yoho 34.3 percent to 33.1 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting. The race has not been called for Yoho yet.
Mica led Adams 61 percent to 39 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting. AP has called the race for Mica.
The two had been drawn into the same district by a Republican-drafted redistricting plan, and rather than one of them run in an open seat next door, they opted to challenge each other. Mica had the backing of Mike Huckabee, while Adams was endorsed by Sarah Palin.
Adams is the 11th House member to fall in a primary this year — the seventh to lose to another member in a merged district.
If Stearns falls, he will be the 12th House incumbent to lose a primary and the fifth to fall to a challenger. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) also lost his primary in the upper chamber.
Stearns had a sizeable financial advantage and appeared to benefit from a crowded field. Few had been keeping a close eye on the primary before Tuesday night, but he wouldn’t be the first incumbent to succumb to a below-the-radar challenge. Both Reps. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and John Sullivan (R-Okla.) have been shocked by little-known challengers this primary season.
In the state’s Senate race, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) easily won the GOP primary, as expected, and will face Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in the fall. Nelson is considered a second-tier target for the GOP, but Florida is a swing state and some polls have shown the race to be close.
In another notable Senate race in Connecticut, Rep. Chris Murphy (D) and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) cruised to their parties’ nominations, with Murphy dispatching former secretary of state Susan Bysiewicz and McMahon destroying former congressman Chris Shays with about three-fourths of the vote. McMahon was also the GOP nominee in 2010, when she lost to now-Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
In the race for Murphy’s seat, former state representative Elizabeth Esty (D) defeated state House Speaker Chris Donovan, whose top campaign staff were recently arrested and charged with corruption. She will be the favorite against state Sen. Andrew Roraback (R), who won a crowded GOP primary.
Elsewhere, repeat candidate Todd Long pulled an upset over Osceola County Commission Chairman John Quinones in the Florida’s new 9th district Republican primary. Republicans hoped Quinones could challenge former congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) for the Democratic-leaning seat.
Former state senator Al Lawson defeated Blue Dog state Rep. Leonard Bembry for the Democratic nomination to face freshman Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) in another competitive district. And repeat candidate Joe Garcia won the Democratic nomination to face embattled Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) in another competitive seat.
Another incumbent, freshman Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) easily survived a primary challenge from Haitian-American candidate Rudy Moise in the most heavily Haitian district in the country.