The GOP Could Probably Beat ConservaDem Patrick Murphy... But They Don't Know How
Mandi Karp, his finance director, told the media that "It is clear from the strong backing Rep. Murphy continues to receive that the American people are tired of the partisan bickering that led to the do-nothing Congresses in the past. They want real leadership that puts their interests above party lines like what Patrick has brought to Washington. He is focused on serving the people from Florida’s 18th district and they continue to show their support for the work he is doing both in Washington and locally."
But how much of Muphy's haul comes from "the people from Florida’s 18th district" and how much of it comes from donors outside the district. Most of it-- 84%-- comes from outside the district and much of it comes from the Wall Street interests he has faithfully served since getting into Congress, even if it has meant stabbing his own constituents in the back and making their lives worse.
Unlike most Democrats, his biggest source of PAC funds comes from "business" PACs rather than labor PACs. Murphy was one of the corrupt Financial Services Committee members who voted for the Wall Street agenda and then jumped on a plane with Joe Crowley-- Congress' most corrupt member-- to go up to New York to party with the generous banksters. Murphy, who faces a very tough reelection bid (in a district where 38% of voters are Republicans and 36% are Democrats), is being touted by Steve Israel as having the top race in the country. But Wall Street isn't the only special interest he's slavishly served. Murphy was also the only Florida Democrat who voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline. He was also the only Florida Democrat to vote for offshore oil drilling.
As the Tampa Bay Times pointed out Monday, no one knows how many people just voted for Murphy because they were embarrassed to be represented by bombastic teabagger and radical right extremist Allen West. Will those voters go for him again when he's up against a mainstream Republican? Will Democrats bother to come out to vote for someone who has been one of the most consistent backers of John Boehner's toxic anti-family agendas?
The GOP began targeting Murphy immediately after he won the District 18 seat, which touches Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties, confident their voter registration advantage will benefit a less controversial candidate. Republicans make up about 38 percent of the electorate; Democrats, 36 percent; independents, 26 percent.
Most districts in the country are far more one-sided, the result of gerrymandering. It has pushed Democrats to the left and Republicans to the right, resulting in a Congress that rarely cooperates. "I'm lucky I'm in a seat where I can be myself," said Murphy, a Republican until 2011.
His early fundraising success, pulling in more than $550,000 in the first quarter, has not scared off competitors. Three Republicans have entered the race already and at least that many are considering.
"It's all out of my control. We have to do our job here," Murphy said, projecting a nonchalance that belies his aggressive fundraising. He just went through one of the roughest campaigns in America and faces another one, but Murphy seems to be going out of his way to be bland.
...Murphy has broken with his party several times. He sided with Republicans on a measure requiring the president to produce a budget that balanced within 10 years, was one of just 19 Democrats to vote for the Keystone XL pipeline and recently backed a farm bill extension that most Democrats objected to because it would have forced new work requirements for food stamp recipients.
Republicans say they were safe votes to take and point out that Murphy mostly votes with his party, including against efforts to repeal Obamacare. He voted for Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, as did all but seven Democrats.
"For all that he talks about reaching across the aisle, and all the local press he gets for it, when it counts, he doesn't," said Sid Dinerstein, former head of the GOP in Palm Beach County. Murphy, he said, will certainly face a more "mainstream" Republican this go-around.
Murphy said he is confident he has enough moderate Republican support. "I think a lot of them are very upset with their party, whether it's gun issues, immigration, a woman's right to choose."
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