US Democrat newcomer Stephanie Murphy has made history as the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress after winning the seat for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
The 38-year old businesswoman and professor will replace Republican Rep. John Mica, 73, despite only starting her campaign this past June.
Murphy captured just over 51 percent of the total votes. Her victory was a result of strong numbers in Orange County, where she carried 21,000 votes. Mica carried Seminole County by 10,000 votes.
Murphy, a former national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defence, is a progressive Democrat who says she will bring new ideas to Washington and make improvements on gun control, LGBTQ rights and women’s issues.
As a young female challenger of mixed ethnicity and an immigrant background, her win over a white male career politician symbolises a major shift in District 7.
In a statement, Murphy thanked Mica for his many years of service to Central Florida.
“Tonight, the people of central Florida rejected partisan deadlock and dysfunction and embraced a new approach,” said Murphy. “In Congress, I will work with both Democrats and Republicans, and I will always put people over politics.”
Mica conceded to Murphy Tuesday night, attributing his loss to the court-ordered redistricting of Florida’s districts and campaign spending.
“It has been my honor to serve the district, state, and nation and I’m proud of my accomplishments both in Florida and in leadership positions in Congress,” Mica said in a statement.
– with other agencies