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John Mica gets tune-up election out of the way, set for Democratic challenge in CD 7

U.S. Rep. John Mica generally takes primary challenges like Sunday morning walks in the park, and on Tuesday the 12-term Republican congressman from Winter Park once again never broke much of a sweat on his way to the finish line.

Mica swept away challenger Mark Busch, a Casselberry businessman and former Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor. Mica cruised to 77 percent of the vote, compared with 23 percent for Busch.

“It’s pretty humbling when you lead the ballot in all the races in Central Florid,” Mica said Tuesday night. “It makes me feel very proud that people have kept their faith and trust in me.”

Mica said he “limited his campaign” to focus on congressional business, including a trip earlier this week to storm-ravaged Louisiana. He said the same will hold for the next few weeks, saying he’ll spend September in session and not turn to the general election until October.

For Mica the primary race was a warm-up lap for the real contest ahead, a challenge from Democratic nominee Stephanie Murphy, a Winter Park businesswoman with the full-throated backing of national Democratic organizations who think this year he might be vulnerable.

The district, now includes more of north-central Orange County, plus Sanford to complete its coverage of Seminole County. Now, without any of the more conservative west Volusia County, it is pretty evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

Busch ran on conservative reform issues including pushes for tight Constitutional controls on Washington, term limits and balanced budget amendments. The 32-year-old consultant in transportation environmental systems made the case that it’s time for a new generation of conservatives in Washington, one friendly to business and the environment, to replace the 73-year-old Mica.

But Mica’s long record of working with local business and elected leaders, and bringing federal money for highways, SunRail, the new Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the University of Central Florida has deeply engrained him in the Central Florida community, even if it appears counter to his otherwise conservative policies, as Busch had tried to argue.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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