The race was one of the closest and most expensive House contests in the country.
But ultimately, Democrat Stephanie Murphy — a first-time candidate who is a little more than half her opponent’s age — beat Rep. John Mica (R). Murphy’s win will help put a dent in the House GOP majority.
Murphy did not launch her campaign until June, when polls showed Donald Trump made the incumbent vulnerable.
Throughout the campaign, Murphy tried to capitalize on the anti-Trump fervor. Buoyed by funding from national Democratic groups, she pelted Mica with advertisements linking him to the Republican nominee, arguing they shared some of the same views — particularly on women’s health and guns.
Mica called Trump’s comments about women “vulgar and unacceptable” but said he still supported him. He portrayed Murphy, a local college teacher and the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, as a political neophyte who was recruited to run because Democrats were unable to find a stronger challenger.
The district’s boundary is across the street from the Pulse nightclub, where a gunman shot and killed 49 people in June, and includes the town where George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in 2012.
Murphy said the Pulse shooting motivated her to enter the race, and she hammered Mica for accepting money from the National Rifle Association in stump speeches. Mica framed the Pulse shooting in national security terms, saying Orlando should have received more federal funding to prevent terrorist attacks.
In October, Mica told The Washington Post that Murphy’s campaign had outspent his. Polling on the race was thin leading up to Election Day.
Mica told The Post his campaign’s internal polls had him up a few points, while Murphy’s said she was leading by the same.