Republican Cory Mills has won back a U.S. House seat held by Democrats for the past six years. The Army veteran-turned-defense contractor defeated Democrat Karen Green in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
Mills won more than 58.5% of the vote over Green’s near 41.5% with most precincts in.
National Republicans cheered the victory and the pickup of a seat previously held by Democrats.
“Congratulations to Cory Mills on his victory tonight,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Cory served our country honorably overseas and will bring that same sense of service to the halls of Congress. I look forward to working with Cory in Congress to cut taxes, lower costs and keep our country free.”
Mills came out on top in an expensive, crowded and bitter GOP Primary, but went into Election Day as a clear favorite, despite facing the vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party.
In truth, the race largely fell off many prognosticators’ radars after incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy announced she would not seek re-election.
While Murphy repeatedly projected confidence she could have won re-election but said she was leaving to spend more time with her young family, her decision came shortly after the Florida House published a first redistricting proposal that significantly reddened her seat.
Ultimately, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a congressional map that controversially gave Republicans an advantage in four additional seats. That included CD 7, which shifted from one where Democrat Joe Biden won by 10 percentage points in the 2020 Presidential Election to one where 52.1% of voters under the new boundaries had supported Republican Donald Trump. The district includes parts of Seminole and Volusia counties.
Murphy notably won her seat in Congress in 2016 after the Florida Supreme Court adopted new lines, ruling a congressional map drawn by the Florida Legislature was drawn to favor Republican candidates, a violation of the Florida constitution. A shift in lines allowed Murphy an opportunity to defeat long-time Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica.
Mills surfaced early as a Republican candidate with support from the defense industry and many Washington leaders. He also had early support from U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, a St. Augustine Republican and veteran Green Beret who represents the neighboring Florida’s 6th Congressional District, and who under the former map won many parts of the new CD 7.
He earned national attention when he led civilian rescue missions to Afghanistan following a highly criticized U.S. withdrawal from the Central Asian nation. He weathered some criticism over revelations his companies had sold tear gas and other equipment used against demonstrators in Black Lives Matter protests, but leaned into those in a campaign ad promising to help the liberal media “shed some real tears.”
In August, Mills won an eight-candidate GOP Primary, taking 38% as compared to 24% for the next closest candidate, Anthony Sabatini.