Congressional District 18: A Strong Democratic Challenger

Democrat Patrick Murphy chats with a Florida Family
Democrat Patrick Murphy chats with a southeast Florida Family

Few Republican freshmen engender the type of passion among activist on both sides of the political spectrum as Allen West. The Plantation based lawmaker has compiled a hard right voting record full of incendiary remarks in his first term in Congress. West has become a hero of the Tea Party Movement at the same time as he has become a convenient fundraising tool for Democrats. The new Congressional maps (still yet to be approved by the courts) placed West’s Broward County home in a heavily Democratic district (new HD-22) and he opted to move to a more Republican-friendly district, albeit one carried by Barrack Obama in 2008. Florida native Patrick Murphy of Fort Lauderdale abandoned his campaign for the Democratic nomination in HD-22 and moved north with West to continue his challenge.

Murphy is one of the best-funded Democratic challengers in the country. As the most recent recipient of campaign contributions (and the first Democrat) from former Governor Charlie Crist, and with strong backing from many in the impressive network of national democratic fundraisers in southeast Florida, Murphy is on paper a formidable challenger.  When you add to this the fact that Murphy fits the district well as a businessman and CPA, and West’s extremism and bombastic personality doesn’t temperamentally fit the Treasure Coast’s history of moderate Republicanism (exemplified by Doc Myers, Mark Foley, Ken Pruitt and others) it is no small wonder Democrats are so upbeat about their opportunity for a giant scalp.

According to his official campaign website:

Patrick Murphy currently serves as Vice President of Coastal Environmental Services, which specializes in disaster relief and environmental cleanup. In 2010, Patrick spent six months in the Gulf of Mexico leading the company’s efforts to remove oil spilled during the BP disaster. Coastal Environmental is an affiliate of Coastal Construction, one of the leading construction firms in the country and has been named one of the nation’s top “Green Contractors”.

Murphy has been strongly backed by former Congressman Robert Wexler and his team of political operatives and consultants. This gives Murphy a strong grounding in a district whose new lines indicate a toss up politically. The district takes in the heavily Republican but moderate and environmental leaning Martin County and St. Lucie County, which has proven to be a swing area in recent elections, and parts of Palm Beach County including the very Democratic condo area Century Village in West Palm Beach. The district also includes several gated communities that have proven to be the decisive vote in recent West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County elections in the area. These  gated areas are classic suburban swing neighborhoods.

The overall performance numbers of the district are almost dead even, but in Presidential election years like 2012, it trends more Democratic. Allen West’s brand of fiery conservatism is a  bad match for almost any part of southeast Florida outside heavily Cuban-American areas of Miami-Dade County. But West has made a name for himself locally with his outstanding constituent service and attention to local interests. That however was largely done within the areas in West’s old district and he will have to work to establish his credentials in the new district. West has also been mentioned as VP possibility by 2008 GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin, but national ambitions and a national profile won’t help West in this district.

This race will certainly be one to watch this November.

22 thoughts on “Congressional District 18: A Strong Democratic Challenger”

  1. I am thankful that Murphy got out of the race against Frankel, but not happy Jacobs got in.

    Two contributions from CharLIE and a previous contribution to CharLIE. Not sure we can trust this guy.

  2. Cmon kk!!!!!

    Some spoiled rich kid wants to be a congressman and robert wexler who us no longer a Florida resident and charLIE Crist say so so the dens flock like sheep to him.

    Very uncharacteristic of you to embrace a snot nosed rich kid backed by the interests that are killing our party.

  3. Patrick is NICE. I like him. He will loose if he brings the Wexler and Crist train with him. He has been warned too many times. Let’s hope he listens

  4. He’s a nice young boy but a total tool of the wexler/Crist/deutch/erid johnson team… the fact that he had the nerve to challenge lois in a primary speaks volumes…I hope we get another candidate to take on west or he will get another two years.

  5. Murphy fits a nice profile and could be a very strong candidate.

    I just wish he hadn’t fallen into the Wexler/Johnson trap so soon.

  6. Great article!!!!!!!

    Murphy is a future star in the Democratic Party. We’ve developed a lot of good young Dems down here. Keep an eye on Rep. soon to be Sen. Joe Abruzzo as well. He announced today for the new open Senate seat with the strong support of Dave Aronberg and Ted Deutch.

  7. Regarding Allen West’s attempt to run away, and Patrick Murphy’s decision to run in 18 as well, I’m hopeful. Murphy should start his campaign with liberal use of the phrase, “You can run, but you can’t hide”.

  8. Abruzzo? He votes with the GOP 99% of the time.
    I hope Sachs runs and crushes the clown.

  9. Don’t worry about Deutch. Murphy knows he has no chance against West he should jump in against Deutch. The problem is that there is a Jewish woman that is potentially running against Deutch and she is a very attractive candidate…watch out~

  10. Maria Sachs? Lois? Ritter? Jacobs? I hope it is one of these ladies. I will not just vote for them but I will work for them. Deutch is such a disapointment.

  11. Frankel should have run the first time. Ritter is under FBI investigation.

    Irv Slosberg could also run vs. Deutch.

  12. Morning Star has a hardon for Deutch, Wexler and Eric Johnson. Deutch I think is ok but let’s be serious…if any of the women run against him..he is toast. He is too tied to these losers.

  13. Murphy has a great resume and an excellent future. This is a race we can win. What has to happen is a constant barrage of national hits on West.

    West continues to polarize and be a disgrace. Rob Wexler is very popular in the district. He win Century Village huge. So did Deutch. They’ll help carry Murphy as will Crist. West doesn’t have that level of leadership support. He is seen as a kook no one wants to associate with.

  14. Wexler is not popular. Deutch is but people are worried that he is not his own person.
    I like Murphy alot. He needs to be his own man. Reading these posts you should realize no one wants Crist. Good luck Murphy! Aronberg cant win a primary not sure why he is running? This is just sad I do have to say if Vana above in leadership. I have none Deutch for years he should be better than this

  15. This is a highly slanted editorial. While it is understood that some Democrats are upset with the map, we actually should pick up seats. Your example of Maria Sachs is wrong and echoes as if you are being fed information by her directly.

    The facts are that the new district is a democratic performing seat and if Sachs runs there she will beat Bogdanoff. Their is also a seat to the west where Joe Abruzzo, one of the rising stars in the state party will run. Abruzzo mixes strong constituent work with a moderate to liberal voting record and already has key support. Congressman Ted Deutch and former Senate Dave Aronberg strongly back his candidacy.

    Sachs knows this and yet is putting out misinformation. This nonsense has been echoed by Nan Rich, this website in about ten different articles, the Palm Beach Post and others. The fact is Sachs has a Democratic district to run in and a new district will elected Joe Abruzzo who could be a statewide contender eventually.

  16. You are wrong morning star..wake up. Deutch is not really respected anymore because he is getting too much like Wexler. Aronberg as a chance. Sachs should NOT run against Bogdanoff. She can beat Joe and if not her…we will get someone else or do what we did last time…back the other candidate. Dont blame Sachs..she sucks too. She is just better than Joe. The truth hurts honey. Listen to the voters and not the hand control your puppets. Great job with the Debbie staffer too.