Cybersecurity

GOP data security advocate loses House seat

One of Congress's loudest advocates for a new law protecting consumers from corporate date breaches dropped his reelection bid.

In a bad year for Democrats, Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) is the rare Republican to be unseated.

Terry officially conceded his race against Democratic challenger Brad Ashford Wednesday afternoon.

There was an outside shot the yet-to-be-counted early ballots could have given the incumbent a shot, but Terry said he will not wait for those votes to be processed.

"I always tried to do what was right for this country - putting people first and this country first," he said in his concession speech, according to multiple outlets.

Terry, who was first elected in 1998, dragged an executive from Target before his House subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade following the company's massive data breach in late 2013.

He then spent months working on a data breach bill, but was never able to surface an official draft. Reportedly, the bill got stuck on disputes over how much authority the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should be given to regulate data breaches.

The lawmaker did release a patent bill to curb misleading letters from companies asserting patent infringement. Terry's subcommittee approved the measure, but it faced significant opposition from Democrats, the FTC and tech privacy advocates.

With all precincts reporting, Ashford, a state senator in Nebraska, had 49 percent of the vote, three percentage points ahead of Terry.

Polls showed Terry and Ashford neck-and-neck leading up to the election.

It's not clear who would replace Terry as head of his subcommittee. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) is the committee's vice chair, but there's no guarantee of direct succession.

This story was updated at 3:37 p.m.

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