That same day Murphy fired off an email warning donors about a political action committee West recently created, asserting it would soon be flooded with tea party money. After last year, we know that we are going to be his number one target.
West, now a Fox News contributor who hasnt said if hell run in 2014, declined comment. He can raise money, having pulled in more than $19 million compared with Murphys $4.7 million in 2012. Outside groups spent $6.5 million for and against Murphy, making it the costliest race in America.
And the nastiest. Murphy painted his opponent as a loudmouth bully. A super PAC ad funded by Murphys father, a Miami developer, depicted West, who is black, punching white women. West made an ad out of an incident when Murphy was 19 and arrested in Miami on charges of disorderly intoxication. Voting was so close that it took two weeks for West to concede defeat. Vice President Joe Biden showed up at a swearing-in party for Murphy and told the crowd, You did the country a favor.
Murphy has tried to live up to the moderate image he campaigned on, joining a group of freshmen in search of bipartisan solutions to the national debt and other issues. In May, he appeared in West Palm Beach with Republican Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, promoting a bill that would cut a modest $200 billion from the budget through efficiencies.
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 only 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 five centrist Democrats.
For all that he talks about reaching across the aisle, and all the local press he gets for it, when it counts, he doesnt, 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 its gun issues, immigration, a womans right to choose. They are very frustrated.
If Murphy needs validation he was making the right moves he might look to Tony Fransetta, a Democratic activist in Wellington.
Some of his votes may not be exactly what we want, but he replaced a resident nut who would try to grab headlines by going for the extremes, he said. Patrick Murphy is a little bit conservative but stands a great chance of being reelected.