495. Karen Diebel talked up then-Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas as her opponent, but lost in 2010 GOP primary

Top 500 Newsmakers of Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Headline Surfer® is counting down its listing of the Top 500 Newsmakers in Central Florida all the way to No. 1.  

Karen Diebel ran for Congress in 2010 / Headline Surfer®

Headline Surfer® / NSBNews.net video produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina King-Frederick /
Karen Diebel, candidate for Congress in the 2010 GOP primary, was interviewed by the internet newspaper outside the New Smyrna Beach City Hall while campaigning, finished a close second to Sandy Adams of Orlando. Adams would move on to defeat Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas that November.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Then-Winter Park Vice Mayor and City Commissioner Karen Diebel talked up Democratic Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach as though she was her only real opponent in the 2010 elections, but in doing so, she perhaps under-estimated the strength of her own GOP party rival, Sandy Adams.

Big mistake!

Adams prevailed over Diebel by a few hundred votes, in a field of five with Craig Miller third, and Tom Garcia and Deon Long as also-rans.

2010 Congressional primary saw Sandy Adams & Susanne Kosmas win / Headline Surfer®Former Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach / Headline Surfer®Former Congresswoman Sandy Adams Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photos /
Sandy Adams, R-Orlando, shown here in the inset, won the 2010 GOP primary by a mere 353 votes over second-place finisher Karen Diebel of Winter Park, before going on to defeat Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach (shown in the display image) in the general election. Two years later, due to redistricting, Adams found herself placed in the 7th district of Congressman John Mica of Winter Park, who easily beat her in the 2012 GOP primary. 

While Diebel. portrayed herself as a staunch conservative, it was Adams who resonated with right-wing Republicans, especially after she received support from 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

That November, capitalizing on Kosmas' support of Obamacare, Adams crushed the incumbent Kosmas with 60 percent of the votes in the district representing parts of Orange, Seminole, Brevard and Volusia counties.

But for Diebel in that 2010 primary, despite strong support from Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, the waning days were tough as she found herself wrapped up in controversy with the third strongest GOP candidate in Miller.

He put out a mailer that accused Diebel of being “unstable” and “bizarre.” citing several 9-1-1 calls Diebel had made, including her allegation that a political opponent had placed a snake in her pool. She never named names. Despite the controversy she only lost by 543 votes to Adams.

Like Kosmas before here her, Adams' reign would last only two years. With redistricting costing Adams her seat she was forced to run in a primary in 2012 against longtime Republican John Mica in the 7th district, which the incumbent easily won.

During the winter 0f 2011, Diebel announced a run for a new Congressional seat in Central Florida that had not yet been drawn for the 2012 election cycle, but with little traction the second time around, Diebel backed several weeks later.

Karen Diebel of Winter Park / Headline Surfer®During the winter 0f 2011, Diebel announced a run for a new Congressional seat in Central Florida that had not yet been drawn for the 2012 election cycle, but with little traction the second time around, Diebel backed several weeks later.

FAST FACTS: Karen Diebel elective office

• Served on Winter Park City Commission, 2007-2010;
• Was Winter Park vice mayor during her final year in office.

Did You Know?

Karen Diebel married Texas Congressman Pete Sessions in 2012 / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Karen Diebel, former congressional candidate is shown here with her new husband, Texas Republican Congressman Pete  Sessions.
Since the 2010 campaign, Diebel's life changed when she married Texas GOP Congressman Pete Sessions.
“Congressman Sessions was married at a small ceremony on Saturday, August 4th in Washington, D.C.,” said Torrie Miller, Sessions’ communications director. “Pete and Karen were delighted to be joined by their families to celebrate their marriage.”
Sessions, 59, who has two sons, divorced his first wife of 27 years the previous summer. Diebel, with three sons, is 47.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.