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Archive for the ‘Patrick Murphy’ Category

On House ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act,’ Murphy one of 39 Democratic defectors

Friday, November 15th, 2013 by George Bennett

Rep. Patrick Murphy, who represents a GOP-leaning district, was one of 39 Democrats to vote for Republican 'Keep Your Health Plan Act.'

Bucking President Barack Obama‘s veto threat and his party’s House leadership, swing-district freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, was one of 39 Democrats to vote today for a Republican a bill to allow insurers to continue offering health insurance plans that don’t meet the standards of the new federal Affordable Care Act.

Murphy was one of only five Democrats to co-sponsor the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” which passed on a 261-157 vote. Four Republicans voted against the bill, which some conservatives derided as a lifeline for Obamacare.

Palm Beach County’s three other House members — Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach and Alcee Hastings of Miramar — all voted against the measure.

Murphy race will test Obamacare’s ‘burden on Democrats’

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 by George Bennett

Assuming the role of Pundit-in-Chief during a news conference today, President Barack Obama acknowledged the botched debut of the federal Affordable Care Act could be troublesome for Democrats.

“There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they’re running or not,” Obama said.

Republicans hope to prove Obama right in Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional District 18, where freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy campaigned last year as a supporter of Obamacare. He praised specific provisions of the law while also calling it “not perfect” and “a step in the right direction.”

In office, Murphy has voted against outright repeal of the law but has joined Republicans on some votes to delay implementation of the law’s individual and business mandates. Murphy has also signed on as one of only three Democratic co-sponsors to a bill by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich, that would allow people to keep their current health plans through the end of 2014.

Obama today announced an administrative fix that would allow insurers to continue offering plans that don’t meet Obamacare standards through the end of 2014.

Murphy today called Obama’s plan “the right thing to do,” but also said he’ll continue to support the Upton bill.

“Whether it’s a Republican or Democrat that’s got a solution, I’m on board for it. Whether it’s legislatively or through the administration….the bottom line is, we’ve got to get it right,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s aisle-crossing on some Obamacare votes doesn’t placate the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC this week released a clip of 2012 candidate Murphy voicing support for specific provisions of the law and calling the health care exchanges “the part that I especially like.”

Said NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill: “He had an opportunity to vote for the repeal of Obamacare and voted against repeal, which kept this the law of the land.”

Murphy brings a little bit of the Treasure Coast to the floor of Congress

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 by George Bennett

That’s not some extreme new flavor of Gatorade in the orange-capped bottle behind Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter. It’s a sampling of polluted St. Lucie River water that Murphy brought to the floor of the House today during remarks.

Murphy entered into the Congressional Record the transcript of an Oct. 3 congressional briefing on the state of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. The bottle of dark-colored liquid — which appears around the 4:00 mark in the video — was intended “to educate all Members of Congress of the severity of this problem in our local waterways,” Murphy’s office said.

Murphy also spoke in support of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act being considered by the House today.

Read the full transcript after the jump…


Challenger out-raises Hastings in individual contributions, but PACs boost incumbent

Monday, October 21st, 2013 by George Bennett

PAC checks pad the re-election account of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and other incumbents.

The latest batch of Federal Election Commission reports confirms one of the many advantages of incumbency — the tendency of PACs to shower money on sitting members of Congress.


U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, raised only $7,425 from individual donors during the quarter that ended Sept. 30. His Democratic primary challenger, Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Jean Enright, snagged $19,065. But Hastings enjoys a big fundraising edge thanks to PAC contributions.

Freshman Reps. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, have seen a big boost in PAC money since winning their seats last year. And Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, has received nearly one-third of his 2014 contributions from PACs.

Subscribers can read more about it in this week’s Politics column. One-day passes to are available as well.

Also in this week’s Politics column:

– Former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff sets a timeline for deciding on whether she’ll seek a rematch against Democratic Sen. Maria Sachs.

– Former U.S. Rep. Allen West is launching a new website, but he doesn’t own the domain name. Find out who does and what the owner says about giving it up.

– Find out which local official incorporated a Standard & Poors statistic into the opening prayer at last week’s Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting.

Murphy’s internal poll shows big early advantage

Friday, October 18th, 2013 by George Bennett

The pollster for nationally targeted freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, says his client has strong job-approval scores and would handily defeat potential Republican challengers Carl Domino or Adam Hasner if an election were held today, according to a polling memo obtained by the Politics column.

The survey by Democratic pollster Keith Frederick, taken during the first week of the federal government shutdown, shows 57 percent of voters in Murphy’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast swing district approving of the job he’s doing, with 30 percent disapproving. That includes a 52-to-39 percent approval score from independents. Among Republicans, 40 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove.

In hypothetical head-to-head tests, Murphy topped former state Rep. Domino and former state House majority leader Hasner by identical 52-to-25 percent margins. Domino opened a campaign in July. Hasner is not a candidate, but hasn’t ruled out running.

The poll of 300 voters was taken Oct. 6-8 and has a 5.6 percent margin of error. The sample was 43 percent Republican, 37 percent Democrat and 20 percent independent — a slightly more Republican tilt than the District 18 registration figures, but probably in line with turnout patterns in a non-presidential election year.

The district went 51.5 percent for Mitt Romney in 2012 while Murphy edged Republican incumbent Allen West. In the Murphy campaign poll, 48 percent of District 18 voters approve of President Barack Obama‘s job performance and 48 percent disapprove.

Allen West to headline fundraiser for GOP congressional candidate Ellen Andel

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 by George Bennett

Former U.S. Rep. Allen West will headline a Nov. 8 fundraiser for Republican Ellen Andel, one of four GOP candidates who hopes to unseat West’s 2012 Democratic foe Patrick Murphy.

Six female members of Congress are also on the host committee for the $500-a-head event at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Adrienne and Michael Papa.

Murphy narrowly defeated West in one of America’s costliest U.S. House races last year. Andel, a Juno Beach councilwoman, is running for the GOP nomination for Murphy’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 seat. Other Republicans in the race are former state Rep. Carl Domino, former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger and former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest.

Palm Beach County’s House members all back deal to end government shutdown, raise debt ceiling

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 by George Bennett

Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel with Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor earlier this month in Boynton Beach.

The four Democrats who represent Palm Beach County in the U.S. House of Representatives all voted for the deal to end the government shutdown and increase the federal debt ceiling on Wednesday night.

After the Senate approved the deal earlier in the day on an 81-18 vote — with Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in favor and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio opposed — the House gave its OK with a 285-144 vote.

Reactions from Palm Beach County’s congressional delegation after the jump…


GOP contributors remain underwhelmed by would-be Murphy challengers

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, is a top target of the national GOP, but Republican donors haven't emptied their checkbooks for three would-be GOP challengers.

Three Republicans hoping to unseat nationally targeted freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in 2014 raised a combined $98,867 from contributors other than themselves during the most recent quarter — less than one-fifth of Murphy’s cash haul during the same three-month period.

As a narrow 2012 victor in a district that voted for Mitt Romney, Murphy is one of the national GOP’s top targets for 2014. But Republican donors have largely remained on the sidelines for the declared field of GOP candidates while Murphy has built up a $1.4 million re-election warchest.

Federal Election Commission reports filed today show that former state Rep. Carl Domino raised $65,962 from contributors and kicked in $125,000 of his own money during the quarter that ended Sept. 30. The Domino campaign reported $160,070 in cash on hand at the end of the quarter.

Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel collected $17,953 during the quarter and reported $17,667 in cash on hand in her campaign account. But Andel also racked up $18,584 in new debts and obligations during the latest quarter. She incurred $20,171 in outstanding obligations during the previous quarter, but appears to have paid off $6,372 of that figure in the most recent reporting period.

Former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger raised $14,952 during the quarter. He put in $25,000 of his own money after also putting $25,000 in personal funds during the previous quarter. Schlesinger reported $37,410 in cash on hand.

Murphy raised $529,482 in the most recent quarter and has collected more than $2.1 million overall. He has spent $787,677 on his campaign and began October with $1.4 million in cash on hand.

Since the third quarter ended, former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest has entered the GOP field. And former state House majority leader Adam Hasner remains a potential Republican candidate.

Calvin Turnquest enters GOP primary for Murphy congressional seat

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 by George Bennett


Former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest says he’s entering the 2014 Republican primary race for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat held by freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel, former state Rep. Carl Domino and former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger have already opened Republican campaigns. Former state House majority leader Adam Hasner remains a potential GOP candidate as well.

Turnquest, 44, is the only black candidate in the race. He says he hopes to persuade Republican primary voters that he would be a more viable candidate in the general election than his GOP rivals.

“I’m the only one that can take away a portion of his (Murphy’s) base,” said Turnquest, who said he was referring to black voters. Blacks make up 9.7 percent of registered voters in congressional District 18. “If you look at the big picture and see which candidate can go toe to toe with Patrick Murphy in general election, I think I am the one to do it.”

Murphy narrowly won the seat last year by defeating a black Republican, former Rep. Allen West.

National GOP buys radio ads blasting Rep. Patrick Murphy on shutdown

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 by George Bennett

The National Republican Congressional Committee is accusing freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, of allowing the government shutdown because he voted against a Republican spending bill on Monday night that also took aim at the federal health care law and benefits for members of Congress.

Less than four hours before the shutdown began, Murphy voted against a continuing resolution that also called for a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare’s individual mandate the elimination of the employer contribution for health insurance that members of Congress and their staffs receive.

Murphy is one of 10 Dems in competitive House districts being targeted with similar ads. Freshman Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami, is another target.

The ad, which the NRCC says began running today, says Murphy is “so out-of-touch that he voted to shut down the government in order to protect Congress’ taxpayer funded healthcare!”

Murphy announced shortly after Monday night’s vote that he won’t accept the health care subsidy and he challenged other members of Congress to do the same. He also voted in July to delay the individual mandate. But Murphy’s chief of staff, Eric Johnson, said Murphy did not support putting those measures into a continuing resolution.

“He thought that this was game-playing, that this was trying to use funding the government as hostage for getting through legislative proposals, even though these are proposals he supported,” Johnson said.

The NRCC didn’t say how much it is spending on the radio ads.

Freshman Reps. Frankel, Murphy remain cautious on Syria after Biden briefing

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, offered cautious statements on Syria after getting a briefing this afternoon from Vice President Joe Biden and other officials at the White House.

Neither Frankel nor Murphy has taken a position on President Barack Obama‘s request for authorization of military strikes in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s use of chemical weapons.

“This is probably one of the most agonizing decisions that I’ve ever been asked to make in my life and I take it very seriously. I have not yet decided,” Frankel said.

“I’m like most Americans. I go in with a bias against war,” said Frankel, whose son served in the Marines in Afhganistan and Iraq. “I certainly would like to be able to support the president. I think the use of chemical weapons is just an outrageous crime against humanity…The best result is a diplomatic solution.”

Murphy released this statement:

“The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime must be stopped. Military action must always be the last resort and I am encouraged that the Administration is working toward a diplomatic solution. I have attended several closed briefings this week with the Vice President, other Administration officials, and top military officials. Because of the gravity of this situation, I continue to carefully weigh all options, consider all information, and closely monitor new developments.”

Crist talks with Obama’s political brain trust; Hasner on GOP radar; Aronberg recalls law school days with Ted Cruz

Monday, September 9th, 2013 by George Bennett

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist says he has talked to some of President Barack Obama‘s top political advisers — David Axelrod, Jim Messina and Valerie Jarrett — as he contemplates a 2014 run for governor as a Democrat.

Subscribers to can read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Also in the column: More evidence that the national GOP remains interested in former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner as a candidate for the congressional seat of freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

The Politics column also features Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg talking about his 1990s law school days with Republican Texas Sen. and tea party phenom Ted Cruz. And a Democratic activist talks about challenging Republican County Commissioner Steven Abrams in 2014.

Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy on Syria: ‘I’m truly undecided’

Thursday, September 5th, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, says he hasn’t decided whether to support President Barack Obama‘s request for Congress to authorize military strikes in Syria in response to Bashar Assad‘s use of chemical weapons.

“I’m truly undecided,” Murphy said in an interview today.

“I am more in favor of a more limited resolution (than Obama first proposed) with a more narrow time frame and no ground troops, but I still have reservations,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he has participated via phone in secure-line conference calls with Secretary of State John Kerry, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Murphy said he’s also spoken with Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, who supports of military action, and Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, who opposes U.S. involvement.

Murphy said he still has questions about whether stockpiles of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist groups who oppose Assad, how extensive the cooperation of other nations will be in any U.S. action and “what is the end-game” militarily for the U.S.

Subscribers to can read more about Murphy’s views on Syria later today.

State Rep. Gayle Harrell decides against bid for Murphy congressional seat

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by George Bennett

Ending months of speculation, state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, said today she will not seek the nationally targeted Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 congressional seat of freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.

“Thank you to those who encouraged me to run for the U.S. Congress. Your faith and belief in me is truly humbling. However, I believe Tallahassee is where I will have the biggest impact and make the most difference for you and our community,” Harrell said in a statement this afternoon. She said she’ll open a re-election campaign for her state House seat.

Three other Republicans have opened District 18 congressional campaigns — former state Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter, Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel and former Connecticut GOP Senate nominee Alan Schlesinger. Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has been eyeing the race as well.

Harrell, who has represented a Martin-St. Lucie district for a combined 9 years in Tallahassee, is probably better-known than those other Republicans in the Treasure Coast, which accounts for 58 percent of the voters in the congressional district.

Harrell ran for Congress in 2008, placing second to eventual U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in a three-candidate Republican primary.

Murphy is one of only nine Democrats in the House to win election in a district that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried. Murphy edged Republican incumbent Allen West last year and is considered a top 2014 target by the national GOP.

National GOP buys cable TV time to slam Murphy on Obamacare, IRS

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 by George Bennett

Figuring that dislike of the federal health care law and the Internal Revenue Service make a potent twofer in a Republican-tinted congressional district, the National Republican Congressional Committee will begin a small cable TV ad buy on Thursday blasting freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, for voting against a bill to prohibit the IRS from administering or enforcing Obamacare.

Sources said the ad buy is about $10,000 and 105 gross rating points, considered minimal impact for political ads.

Murphy is a top target of the national GOP. He’s one of only nine Democrats in the nation elected to a House district that voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. With the election more than 14 months away, he’s one of 11 House Dems the NRCC has targeted with early ads.

Murphy has joined Republicans in a pair of bipartisan caucuses aimed at deficit reduction. And he broke with Democrats and joined House Republicans in recent votes to delay the implementation of the health care law’s business and individual mandates. But he voted against a GOP-sponsored “Keep The IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013″ on Aug. 2. The bill passed 232-185 but, as with other Republican House measures to repeal or scale back Obamacare, it’s unlikely to be considered by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Three Republicans so far have opened campaigns for Murphy’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 seat — former state Rep. Carl Domino, Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel and former Connecticut GOP Senate nominee Alan Schlesinger.

Scott, in Palm Beach County, talks about LG search, Jesse Jackson, St. Lucie River

Monday, August 12th, 2013 by George Bennett

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and Gov. Rick Scott meet the press after lunching at Pistache on Clematis Street.

WEST PALM BEACH — Nearly five months after Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned, naming a replacement doesn’t appear to be a front-burner concern for Gov. Rick Scott.

“We’re still working on the criteria and I’m working with Adam Hollingsworth, my chief of staff, on that. My biggest focus every day is to keep jobs going,” Scott said today when asked about the LG search.

Scott is in Palm Beach County for meetings with West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, Lake Worth Commissioner Scott Maxwell and others.

On his way into lunch with Muoio at Pistache on Clematis Street, Scott said “I just try to listen, travel the state and listen.”


Murphy to hold his first town hall meeting via phone on Thursday

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, will hold a town hall-style teleconference with constituents on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Automated phone calls will go out to thousands of residents of Murphy’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 inviting them to participate in the teleconference. Constituents can also sign up to participate by clicking here before noon on Thursday.

It’s Murphy’s first town hall-type meeting with constituents since taking office. Former Rep. Allen West, the Republican who narrowly lost to Murphy last November, held two in-person town halls each month with constituents.

West’s events routinely packed hundreds into meeting halls. Proponents of the teleconference format say it allows a member of Congress to reach thousands of constituents.

Said Murphy spokeswoman Erin Moffet Hale: “This is his first telephone town hall and while he has not held any events labeled a ‘town hall’ to date, he has participated in almost 200 public events that are more personal in nature, allowing for better constituent outreach and communication than a large ‘town hall’ event would foster.”

Vote on blocking NSA phone data collection produces strange alliances, splits Palm Beach County Dems

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 by George Bennett

An effort to block the National Security Agency from collecting hundreds of millions of phone records narrowly failed in the House of Representatives Wednesday in a vote that saw some libertarian and conservative Republicans join with liberal Democrats against the Obama administration.

Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, voted for the amendment by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., a tea party favorite who’s been likened to libertarian icon Ron Paul. The Amash amendment failed on a 217-205 vote.

Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, voted with the majority to defeat the amendment, as did Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee. Republican and Democratic House leaders — including Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — sided with the Obama administration and voted against the amendment.

In all, 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voted for the amendment, with 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats opposed.

GOP candidates raise little initial money in race for Murphy’s congressional seat

Monday, July 15th, 2013 by George Bennett

The two declared Republican candidates for freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy‘s Palm Beach-Broward congressional seat have filed initial Federal Election Commission reports that are unlikely to deter other potential GOP candidates from getting into the race.

Juno Beach Vice Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Andel raised $14,455 in her first two months as a candidate while incurring $20,171 in debts and obligations.

Alan Schlesinger, the former mayor of Derby, Conn., who was the GOP Senate nominee in the Nutmeg State in 2006, did not raise a penny but plunked $25,000 of his own money into the race.

Murphy, a top GOP target for 2014, has announced that he raised more than $520,000 in the last quarter and has more than $1 million in cash on hand.

The latest FEC reports cover money raised and spent through June 30. Former Republican state Rep. Carl Domino announced this month that he’s running as well. Other potential candidates include state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, and former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Republican Tod Mowery won’t run for Murphy’s congressional seat

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 by George Bennett


Republican St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery told PostOnPolitics this afternoon that he has decided not to run for Congress and will instead seek re-election next year to his commission seat.

Mowery was among the potential candidates who have been interviewed by the National Republican Congressional Committee for Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18, where freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, is a top GOP target.

A big Mowery selling point was his ability to win as a Republican in Democrat-dominated St. Lucie County; on the other hand, political pros questioned his fundraising prowess in what is expected to be one of the nation’s costliest races. Murphy has already banked more than $1 million for his re-election effort.

Mowery said he wants to continue his work in St. Lucie County and wasn’t thrilled about the toll that serving in Washington would take on his wife and kids, who are 14 and 11.

“From a family perspective, I really think this is the best thing,” said Mowery.

Mowery said he doesn’t have immediate plans to back a candidate in the race. Former state Rep. Carl Domino, Juno Beach Vice Mayor Ellen Andel and former Connecticut Senate candidate Alan Schlesinger have announced they will seek the GOP nomination to oppose Murphy. Other potential candidates include state Rep. Gayle Harrell, former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest.

Another potential Republican candidate who was interviewed by the NRCC, Hobe Sound businessman Gary Uber, has also decided not to run. Uber says he plans to devote his time and money to an international organization that starts and funds health clinics and schools for girls in remote regions of the world.

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