We're still a pair of Novembers away from seeing the fate of Rep. Allen West's congressional seat, but 28-year-old Patrick Murphy looks like he's already giving the congressman a run for his money -- lots and lots of money.
Murphy announced that he raised $450,000 in the second quarter, on top of the $350,000 he reported raising in the first -- the most by any congressional challenger in the nation.
It's early enough to be optimistic about Murphy's chances, so we'll let you know why he's got a shot.
First, Murphy has the advantage of running in a presidential election year, whereas West took advantage of a midterm election.
In midterm elections, congressional hopefuls are often elected when they have the opposite political affiliation of the sitting president.
In case you forgot, Democrats lost 63 House seats in the last midterm election -- Rep. West taking one of those fresh seats from incumbent Democrat Ron Klein.
The same trend doesn't seem to correlate to years of presidential elections, but voter turnout is much higher in years of presidential elections.
Second, the redistricting results look like a total toss-up right now.
None of the candidates -- we won't leave out former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, a Democrat -- have a clue as to what Florida's 22nd congressional district will look like in 2012.
That advantage can go either way, but it could give Murphy an advantage that otherwise wouldn't exist.
Aside from that, Murphy is just acting like a boss right now -- raising tons of cash and dishing out the insults against Florida's nuttier politicians:
I am extremely pleased with the unprecedented support our campaign is receiving. Beating Tea Party darling Allen West is going to require raising a great deal of money, but this campaign is proving we can do it. If West isn't concerned about losing his job, then he should be -- because there is a growing bipartisan coalition of support against him. Just as we're seeing with his friend Gov. Rick Scott, there is tremendous buyers remorse -- and a desire for more moderate and balanced thinking.
We have to warn Murphy, though, that if he loses in either the primary or general election for the congressional seat, we've already got a song picked out for him:
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