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Rep. Foley's former seat goes to Democrat

November 08, 2006|Carol J. Williams | Times Staff Writer

MIAMI — A political neophyte won disgraced U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's congressional seat Tuesday, capturing the staunchly conservative bastion for the Democrats for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Democrat Tim Mahoney won the battle of no-names against Republican Joe Negron, who joined the race only five weeks ago and under the shadow of Foley's alleged sexual misconduct.

With 91% of the district's precincts reporting, Mahoney had 49.2% to Negron's 48% in Florida's 16th Congressional District, and the GOP longshot congratulated his opponent and praised a campaign staff that diligently pressed an uphill fight..

Foley's specter dominated the race, despite his retreat to alcohol rehabilitation treatment after resigning Sept. 29 when his sexually lurid Internet messages to teenage congressional pages became public.

His name remained on the ballot because it was too late to amend it when he resigned. Negron's campaign won a court battle to allow poll workers to post notices at voting places explaining that marking the ballot for Foley meant a vote for Negron.

Negron during his brief campaign encouraged GOP voters to channel their anger at Foley with the slogan: "Punch Foley for Negron."


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