Democrat Stephanie Murphy is projected to defeat Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), bouncing the 12-term lawmaker out of Congress.
 
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Taking out a senior lawmaker like Mica, who was first elected in 1992, is a major coup for Democrats as they seek to narrow the House GOP majority.
 
Court-ordered redistricting made Mica’s Orlando-area district more diverse and thus more favorable to Democrats this year.
 
Murphy, 38, offered a compelling personal backstory. Her family escaped from communist Vietnam when she was a baby and was later rescued by the U.S. Navy. She worked as a national security specialist in the Defense Department before serving as an executive at a venture capital firm.
 
Mica, 73, is best known for chairing the House Transportation Committee from 2011 to 2012. He also serves on the House Oversight Committee, where he’s gotten attention for his use of props during hearings.
 
In 2014, Mica brought a fake joint to an Oversight hearing on Washington, D.C.’s marijuana legalization law.
 
He clarified that his staff rolled the joint, not him, because “they have more experience.”
 
That same year, Mica held up a printout of the ADT security company’s logo during a hearing on security lapses at the White House.
 
“Have you ever heard of these guys?” he asked Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.  
 
Mica’s race didn’t appear competitive until relatively late in the election cycle. For most of the year, Democrats had struggled to recruit a credible challenger.
 
That changed when Murphy announced her candidacy right before the deadline in late June, days after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
 
Democrats pulled out all the stops to boost Murphy. President Obama endorsed her and recorded a radio ad for House Democrats' campaign arm that ran in the district during the race’s final days. 
 
The National Republican Congressional Committee, meanwhile, only made its first big investment in the district in late October.