Republican Joe Negron had a lot to overcome as a replacement candidate for disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley. For starters, Foley’s name remained on the ballot.
Negron, who had just more than a month to campaign, tried to make the best of the situation. He even came up with a catchy campaign slogan, hoping to get his message out: “Punch Foley for Negron.”
But it wasn’t enough: Democrat Tim Mahoney ultimately edged him out by a narrow margin.
“I’m proud I stepped in and ran a five-week campaign for a congressman who stepped down in disgrace,” Negron said.
Foley’s South Florida seat, which he abandoned amid accusations he sent lurid messages to teenage boys on Capitol Hill, was one of several around the country that were left open after Congressional scandals.
In Texas, Democrat Nick Lampson won the seat left open when former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay resigned from Congress in June as a result of a fundraising scandal. The courts refused to allow Republicans to replace DeLay on the ballot, so the GOP turned to Houston dermatologist Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as a write-in candidate.
The victory was sweet revenge for Lampson: The former congressman lost his House seat in 2004 as a result of a plan orchestrated by DeLay to redraw congressional voting districts in Texas.
The eastern Ohio district of disgraced former Rep. Bob Ney, traditionally a Republican stronghold, also was turned over to Democrats. Democrat Zack Space defeated Republican state Sen. Joy Padgett, taking a seat the GOP has held for 30 years.
Ney resigned his seat Friday Ã¢â‚¬â€ a timing that infuriated Republicans Ã¢â‚¬â€ after pleading guilty last month to corruption charges.
Associated Press Writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio and Joe Stinebaker in Houston contributed to this report.