With Debbie Wasserrman Schultz and Charlie Crist officially out of the race, Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat from Palm Beach County, announced today that he'll run for Senate in 2016 ... whether or not Marco Rubio decides to vacate it to run for president or not. At just 31 years of age, Murphy has already made his mark in Florida politics by narrowly defeating controversial Tea Party Rep. Allen West in the 18th district back in 2012 in one of the most expensive House races in Florida history.
“I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 – Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better," Murphy said in a statement. "I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now.”
But who is Murphy? Here are five things you need to know.
1. He's a Miami kid.
Murphy was born in Miami in 1983 and raised in between here and Key Largo. His family owned a successful construction company, and Murphy grew up quite comfortably. He attended Palmer Trinity School before earning his Bachelor's Degree at the University of Miami. He worked stints for his family construction company and then for as a CPA for Deloitte. The majority of his personal wealth, however, comes from a gift of stock from his father.
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2. He's a former Republican.
In 2008, Murphy donated the maximum amount to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign just two years before running for congress as a Democrat. That might actually be a plus in a general election in Florida, but could cause trouble should he face a strong challenge in the Democratic primary.
3. He's Florida's most moderate Democratic congressman.
According to the most recent vote rankings from National Journal, Murphy is Florida's most moderate Democrat in Washington. In fact, he was rated the 190th most liberal member of the House. To put that in perspective, Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was the 212th most liberal member of the House.
4. He's not afraid to break with his party.
Last year, Murphy was just one of seven Democrats in the House who voted to establish the U.S. House Select Committee on Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, which most Democrats regarded as a politically-minded stunt show. That could get real awkward if indeed Hillary Clinton sits atop the Democratic ticket in 2016.
5. However, he still has solid Democratic positions on several issues.
He's pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, favors increasing taxes on the wealthy, pro-Obamacare, and pro-Immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.