Republicans Have Good Chance of Flipping a Congressional Seat in Central Florida

When U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., announced her retirement after the latest round of redistricting, a large field of candidates from both parties entered the contest to replace her. In the final days of the campaign, the GOP has a good chance of flipping the seat in what has shaped up as one of the most important congressional races to watch in the Sunshine State.

Businessman Cory Mills, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, garnered the attention of national Republicans with his campaign to replace Murphy. Some of the GOP’s most familiar figures on Capitol Hill, from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, threw their support to his campaign.

Mills didn’t let his backers down in the August primary, taking 38.1 percent in an eight-candidate field. Running to the east of his Lake County district, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, placed second behind Mills but was more than 10,000 votes behind, taking 23.6 percent. All in all an impressive win for Mills and he has not slowed down since the primary.

Karen Green, a leader at the state level of her party and who has served in the private and public sector, including leading a private-public partnership that helped with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, won the Democratic nomination in the August primary. Green pulled 44.9 percent in the four candidate field, beating Al Krulick, who finished in second place with 21.1 percent of the vote, by more than 12,000 votes.

Green has an inspiring life story which includes overcoming challenges, including immigrating to the U.S. from Jamaica, rising up through opportunities and defeating cancer–but she is facing another underdog situation in next week’s election. The district includes all of Seminole County–not quite as strong for Republicans as it had been not that long ago–and Volusia County. The GOP has a slight edge here with 36 percent of voters being registered Republicans while 32 percent are Democrats and the other 32 percent stand outside the major parties. Donald Trump carried 52.1 percent here in 2020 but he didn’t blow out Joe Biden, who carried 46.6 percent, in this district.

The national pundits and outlooks have made Mills the favorite here–and he has done well when in the spotlight, including some early campaign appearances on Fox News. He should win on Tuesday but this race is far more competitive than almost every other congressional race in Florida and Green has a puncher’s chance though she will need to dominate among voters outside the major parties to pull off the upset.

Kevin Derby wrote this analysis. He can be reached at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com

For more articles on Florida politics and government, visit our Florida politics news section. Recent coverage includes 2022 Midterm Election news, Ron DeSantis vs. Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio vs. Val Demings and more.

Kevin Derby
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