Rep. John Mica easily beat freshman Rep. Sandy Adams in their member-versus-member Florida GOP primary on Tuesday.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Mica led 61 percent to Adams's 39. The Associated Press has called the race.

Mica, the powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, had the advantage of his long tenure.

But he angered some when he decided to run in the newly drawn 7th district — a decision that pitted him against the Tea Party, which supported Adams.

The district contains constituents of both lawmakers (although more of Adams's) and was a result of the state's redistricting process. Florida gained two House seats, which caused the reconfiguration of congressional districts throughout the state.

Mica said in a statement after his victory that "this race has been called the fight for the soul of the Republican Party. I'm happy to report the heart and soul of the party endures.
"This race demonstrated that the voters appreciate effective, experienced and proven conservative leadership. In this election we brought together every dedicated Republican across Central Florida. This victory is the result of hard work, dedicated grassroots support and incredible support shown at the polls today," he said.

The race attracted attention from big-time players in the national Republican Party: Mica had the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, while Adams was endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Mica is expected to easily win the general election in the GOP-leaning district. He'll face Democrat Jason Kendall in the fall.

In other Florida contests, Rep. Allen West (R) easily won his primary with 74 percent of the vote.

And Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), as expected, won the GOP Senate primary for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonExpanded laptop ban alarms travel industry Why does air travel seem so miserable? Offshore drilling opponents gear up for Gulf fight MORE in the fall.

— This story was updated at 8:56 p.m.