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Incumbent eases into second term // U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 12

In a race that pitted cousin against cousin, incumbent Republican Charles T. Canady, Jr. coasted to victory Tuesday night, holding onto the 12th district congressional seat.

Based on early returns, Canady easily defeated his second cousin, Democrat Mike Canady, 61.

"We're very encouraged by the returns that have come in thus far. It looks like they're going to continue to come in with a substantial lead for me," said Charles Canady, 42.

"It's a good feeling to win, although it is an unusual situation that Canady is getting 100 percent of the vote."

Calls to Mike Canady's campaign headquarters were not returned.

The incumbent is a conservative Republican best-known in the 104th Congress for sponsoring a bill to outlaw partial-birth abortions. A Yale University graduate and lawyer, Canady began his political career in the state House in 1984.

Mike Canady is a high school graduate who spent the past 30 years working in the phosphate industry. He has never held public office, but he jumped into the congressional race partly because he disagreed with his cousin's conservative stance.

U.S. House District 12 comprises East Pasco and the eastern part of Hillsborough County, taking in Plant City and the eastern part of Brandon. It also includes Hardee and De Soto counties, most of Polk and part of Highlands county.

This year, the incumbent collected more than $226,000 in campaign contributions, outspending his cousin by a ratio of nearly 12-to-1.

_ Information from staff writer Marty Rosen and the Lakeland Ledger was used in this report.