Palm Beach News

Patrick Murphy Gunning for Marco Rubio's Senate Seat

Rep. Patrick Murphy has announced that he's gunning for Marco Rubio's senate seat, whether Rubio runs for reelection or decides to run for president, according to a report by Politico. Murphy, who represents the 18th district, which covers part of Palm Beach County, has been a congressman since he defeated Allen West in 2012 by 0.8 percent. It was the most expensive House race in U.S. history.

Murphy, a Democrat who has been fairly centrist, told Politico he's running to end what he calls the “hyper-partisanship in Washington.”

Murphy, age 31, has been mostly vocal on issues such as the massive pollution problem in Lake Okeechobee as well as his concerns over the All Aboard railroad program.

In 2013, Murphy spoke to New Times about how growing up in the Florida Keys influenced his drive to help the pollution problem.

"The Everglades was my backyard," he said at the time. "I have two uncles that were fishermen. I grew up fishing and diving. I saw how the environment is connected to the economy and vice versa... [Everglades restoration and Lake Okeechobee pollution] was an issue throughout the campaign, especially in this district, really from Orlando south. During the campaign, I had many conversations about this with constituents who wanted me to make it a top agenda item."

When tackling the All Aboard Florida issue, Murphy wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Scott over concerns that the rail plan could harm the environment. 

"While [All Aboard Florida] may boost tourism and business in Florida's biggest cities, it also threatens to delay emergency vehicles, create traffic jams, raise noise pollution, and block waterways along hundreds of miles of tracks," Murphy wrote in his letter.

According to, Murphy is the centrist he advertises himself to be. The website ranked him as the third-highest among Florida delegates to work with the senate. They also note that he's in the highest 10 percent among House Democrats in proposing bipartisan bills.

Fifty-seven percent of Murphy’s bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 113th Congress, says Govtracks' 2014 report card.

Murphy has also come out in favor of medical marijuana legalization. One of his biggest backers is medical marijuana champion and wealthy Orlando-based attorney John Morgan.

Marco Rubio is expected to run for president in 2016, which means the senate seat could be wide open. 

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph