Patrick Murphy (Florida politician)

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Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy, official portrait, 114th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 18th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Personal details
Born Patrick Erin Murphy
(1983-03-30) March 30, 1983 (age 32)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican (Before 2011)
Democratic (2011–present)
Alma mater University of Miami
Website House website

Patrick Erin Murphy (born March 30, 1983) is an American accountant, politician and member of the Democratic Party who has been the U.S. Representative for Florida's 18th congressional district since 2013. Murphy was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Allen West by 0.8% in the most expensive U.S. House race in history.[1] Despite the narrow Republican lean of Murphy's district, he was re-elected with 60% of the vote in 2014. In March of 2015 he announced his intentions to run in the United States Senate election in Florida, 2016 to replace the retiring Marco Rubio, who is running for President.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Murphy was born in Miami and raised in Key Largo. Murphy attended Palmer Trinity School in Miami from grades 7-12 before graduating from the elite Lawrenceville School, a private prep school in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, in 2002.[2] He says he worked as a construction laborer for his family's company while going to college at University of Miami.[3]

As a 19-year-old freshman college student in 2003, Murphy was arrested outside a Miami Beach night club on charges of disorderly intoxication and possessing a fake driver license. The arrest affidavit said Murphy and his friend were escorted from the club by security, appeared drunk and were disrupting business and assaulting customers, with Murphy receiving a black eye from a fight. After being warned they would be arrested if they didn't leave, Murphy and his friend left in a cab, but the cab returned with the driver complaining that the passengers were drunk and refused to pay. The intoxication charge was ultimately dropped for lack of evidence and the fake ID charge was dismissed. Murphy called the incident "the biggest mistake of my life" and the "biggest learning experience of my life".[4]

After earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami in accounting and finance, Murphy spent a year as a Certified Public Accountant at Deloitte and Touche before being hired as vice president of his family's construction business.[5] After the 2010 BP oil spill he was tasked with creating a subsidiary of his father's company, called Coastal Environmental, that secured contracts to remove oil in the Gulf of Mexico.[6]

A 2011 gift of stock from his father boosted his personal net worth by one to five million dollars.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

In 2012 Murphy moved from Fort Lauderdale to Jupiter and ran for the 18th congressional district.[8] Murphy claims he was so taken aback by some of the things Republican incumbent Representative Allen West was saying in Congress and on television that he felt compelled to run against him.[5] As a result, he took the campaign strategy of selling himself as a West alternative.[9] Murphy was supported by Florida's former Republican Governor Charlie Crist and former Democratic President Bill Clinton, along with Republican Sheriff of Martin County Bob Crowder, who ran against West in the primaries.[10][11] The race was among the most expensive congressional races in 2012,[12] and called one of the ugliest in the 2012 campaign, as well as one of the closest.[13]

After a close vote, the state of Florida certified a Murphy victory over West, days after the election.[14] The West campaign claimed there were errors in the vote counting process and took legal action to request a recount of disputed votes.[15] On November 20, 2012, the West campaign conceded the election to Murphy, who won by a margin of 2429 votes.[16]

2014 election[edit]

Murphy ran for re-election in 2014, and was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline program, designed to protect their most vulnerable incumbents.[17] Despite this, he won his bid for a second term by defeating Republican candidate Carl Domino, a former State Representative, with almost 60% of the vote,[18] even out-polling Republican Governor Rick Scott in the heavily Republican Martin County, which he carried with 55.4% of the vote.[19] He raised and spent over $5.3 million, more than any other House Democrat who ran for re-election. Of his 13 television advertisements, none of them attacked his Republican opponent.[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Murphy was a member of the Republican Party, donating the maximum individual contribution of $2,300 to Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign and $4,800 to other Republican candidates, until four months prior to announcing his candidacy for Congress, at which time he switched his registration to the Democratic Party and donated $4,000 to a variety of Democratic candidates.[20] He says he switched from being a Republican and a Mitt Romney supporter because of his disgust with the Tea Party movement.[20] Murphy was described in The Huffington Post as a "pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights but 'not ultra-liberal' Democrat who values fiscal responsibility."[5] The top five contributors to Murphy's campaign committee for the 2013-2014 time period were his family's construction company, Deloitte, Suntech Plumbing, Goldman Sachs, and J Street PAC.[21]


In 2014 Murphy was one of 36 members of congress to sign a letter urging the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to block a U.S. Department of Education proposal to tighten regulation of for profit universities.[22]

Energy and environment[edit]

In 2013 Murphy voted in support of the Northern Route Approval Act, which would have allowed Congress to unilaterally approve construction of the Keystone Pipeline without the approval of the Obama administration.[23] The American Petroleum Institute praised Murphy's vote, saying "it shows that he understands the importance of putting America’s economy and energy future ahead of politics."[24]

Foreign policy[edit]

In 2014 Murphy voted in favor of establishing the United States House Select Committee on Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.[25]


Murphy supported the Affordable Care Act and voted against its repeal in May 2013.[26] In November 2013, Murphy signed on to a Republican-sponsored bill to waive the minimum coverage requirements of the act.[27]

Electoral history[edit]

2012 18th Congressional District of Florida Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Patrick Murphy 166,799 50.4
Republican Allen West (incumbent) 164,370 49.6
Turnout 331,169 100
Democratic gain from Republican Swing


2014 18th Congressional District of Florida Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Patrick Murphy (incumbent) 151,478 59.8
Republican Carl Domino 101,896 40.2
Turnout 253,374 100


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Patrick "Erin" Murphy '02 Runs for Congress". Lawrenceville School. August 8, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Patrick Murphy. "Patrick Murphy for Congress". Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ George Bennett (June 15, 2012). "Dem candidate Murphy: Drunk and disorderly incident at 19 ‘biggest mistake of my life’". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Jennifer Bendery (August 15, 2012). "Patrick Murphy Reveals Strategy For Beating Allen West". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ Michael Mayo (November 29, 2013). "Allen West in political dogfight against newcomer Patrick Murphy". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Matisse, Jonathan (December 30, 2013). "Gift triples U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy's personal wealth". TC Palm. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ Gibson, William (3/5/13). "Dems to help vulnerable Joe Garcia and Patrick Murphy". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved August 29, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Florida, 18th House District". National Journal. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ Alex Sanz (September 12, 2012). "Clinton raises money, Crist makes appearance at South Florida fundraiser". WPTV. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ Jennifer Bendery (October 31, 2012). "Allen West's Primary Opponent 'Embarrassed' By West, Endorses Democrat Patrick Murphy". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Businessweek profile of the race between West and Murphy by Michael C. Bender, October 18, 2012]
  14. ^ "Florida certifies victory for House newcomer". The Hill. November 10, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Allen West/Patrick Murphy race update: West could challenge District 18 results for months"
  16. ^ "Allen West concedes to Patrick Murphy". Politico. November 20, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  17. ^ Livingston, Abby (3/5/13). "DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program". Roll Call. Retrieved August 29, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b George Bennett (November 8, 2014). "Wave-defying Democrat Murphy for Senate in 2016? Pollster says ‘kind of absurd, but…’". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b George Bennett (April 23, 2011). "Broward builder Patrick Murphy erects candidacy to take on conservative West". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Patrick E. Murphy". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  22. ^ Choma, Russ (May 30, 2014). "For-Profit Education’s Million-Dollar Letter". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  23. ^ Alex, Leary. "In swing district, Rep. Patrick Murphy has to tread carefully". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Florida Petroleum Council and Labor Unions applaud growing congressional support of KXL". American Petroleum Institute. November 21, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  25. ^ Marcos, Cristina (May 8, 2014). "Seven Dems vote to create Benghazi panel". The Hill. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  26. ^ Tom Howell Jr. (July 8, 2013). "GOP targets Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy for Obamacare flip-flop". Washington Times. 
  27. ^ Alexandra Jaffe (November 14, 2013). "Third House Dem backs 'keep your plan' bill". The Hill. 
  28. ^,_2014

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 18th congressional district

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Aaron Schock
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Elise Stefanik
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Markwayne Mullin
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Beto O'Rourke