Split Decision for Tea Party in Florida Primaries

Split Decision for Tea Party in Florida Primaries

In Florida, the Tea Party and the Republican establishment faced off in two marquee primary battles on Tuesday. 

Rep. John Mica, an ally of House Speaker John Boehner’s and a 10-term Congressman who chairs the Transportation Committee, defeated freshman Tea Party Representative Sandy Adams, who was backed by Sarah Palin in addition to establishment figures like former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Mica defeated Adams, 69% to 31%. 

Cliff Stearns, the 12-term establishment Republican who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, lost to political newcomer Ted Yoho by less than 1,000 votes. Yoho, a veterinarian, ran a much-touted advertisement that painted Stearns as an incumbent pig feeding at the trough. 

Adams was the first Tea Party member elected in the historic 2010 elections to lose to date. She and Mica faced off in a primary because their districts were merged together. The loss was also a rare loss for a Palin-endorsed candidate in a Republican primary. Adams was only the second Palin-endorsed candidate to lose a Republican House primary. Palin’s record in House primaries is 12 wins and 2 losses. 

Mica tripled Adams’ fundraising due to his insider connections and took Adams’ challenge, especially after Palin’s endorsement, much more seriously than Stearns did his. 

Stearns was also running in a new district in which about a third of the voters were not from his previous district.