After Beating Allen West, House Freshman Faces New Fight

Discussion in 'Politics' started by TruthOut10, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. TruthOut10

    TruthOut10 Active Member

    Dec 3, 2012
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    Of the eight new seats that Democrats picked up in the House of Representatives in November, four of them come from Florida.

    Democrats were aided by a big turnout for President Obama, plus new rules that helped erase a Republican advantage in how districts are drawn in the Sunshine State.

    One of those new Democratic seats is held by Patrick Murphy, the House's youngest member. He's already well-known nationally, not so much for who he is, but for whom he beat: Allen West, the former Army lieutenant colonel who became one of the faces of the 2010 freshmen Republican class in the House.

    Murphy, 29, recently joined other incoming Democratic freshmen for orientation and a meeting with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who singled him out for national attention.

    "Just defeated somebody you all may know — a guy named Allen West. You guys may have heard of him," Murphy said, to laughter from the crowd.

    West gained a national following through his frequent appearances on Fox News and his incendiary rhetoric — charging, for example, that at least 70 House Democrats were members of the Communist Party.

    West raised more than $18 million and outspent Murphy more than 4 to 1. But Murphy eked out a win, beating West by fewer than 2,000 votes.

    'The Tea Party Started Taking Hold'

    Murphy's old campaign headquarters in Palm Beach County is mostly in boxes. He's scrambling to hire staff and set up district offices in the three counties he now represents along Florida's Atlantic coast.

    Although this was his first run for public office, Murphy comes from a politically active family that owns a major construction company in Florida. Until recently, the family's fundraising ties were mostly to GOP candidates, and Murphy was registered as a Republican.

    Murphy says the war in Iraq and the economic downturn moved him toward the Democratic Party. "Then the Tea Party starting taking hold and people like Allen West won in my backyard. And I just decided I'm not going to sit back and complain and not do anything about it," he says.

    Murphy announced he would run as a Democrat against West in Florida's 22nd Congressional District. But then, because of redistricting, West announced he was moving up Florida's coast and would seek re-election in Florida's 18th, an area more favorable to Republicans.

    While there were more Republicans there, most had never cast a ballot for West. Murphy's ads used West's incendiary comments against him — and Murphy says they paid off.

    "It wasn't necessarily the Democratic turnout that helped us win. It was the Republicans that crossed over, that left Allen West to support us, is why we won this race," he says. "So, I think a lot of people saw hopefully that my background was a better fit for getting our country back on the right track. And I continue to hope to prove that."

    After Beating Allen West, House Freshman Faces New Fight : NPR

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