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No public meeting between Nancy Pelosi and Patrick Murphy, but her fundraiser will help him

Monday, February 24th, 2014 by George Bennett

Murphy and Pelosi in 2012 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi once showed off freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, to the Washington media, declaring that Murphy’s 2012 defeat of Republican Allen West “sends a message to a new generation of Americans that their voices will be heard at the table.”

But when Pelosi visited Palm Beach County last week for a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches speech and a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Murphy was miles away. A public appearance with liberal Pelosi probably wouldn’t help Murphy in a Palm Beach-Treasure Coast district that leans slightly Republican. But the DCCC money Pelosi raised will help Murphy and other Democratic House candidates.

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

Murphy ranks 9th among House Dems for voting against Obama, CQ says

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by George Bennett

Vote analysis from Congressional Quarterly

Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, voted against President Barack Obama‘s position 43 percent of the time in 2013 — the ninth highest percentage among House Democrats, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly.

Murphy represents a Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional district in which Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats and voters sided with Republican Mitt Romney over Obama in 2012.

Another swing-district Florida Democrat, Rep. Joe Garcia of Miami, ranked just behind Murphy in the CQ analysis, voting against Obama 42.9 percent of the time. The least-loyal House Democrat was Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, who opposed Obama 72.1 percent of the time in 2013.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted for Obama’s position 100 percent of the time in 2013. He’s one of 17 Dems who didn’t break with the president on a single vote last year.

Fundraising for Republicans hoping to oust Murphy lags behind other successful challengers

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 by George Bennett

The combined 2013 fundraising of GOP candidates (from left) Domino, Andel, Schlesigner and Turnquest was about one-fifth of Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy's total.


With $116,938 from contributors and another $279,527 of his own money invested in his congressional bid as of Dec. 31, former state Rep. Carl Domino is the top money-raiser among Republicans who have filed for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 seat of U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

Murphy raised $2.6 million through Dec. 31, which may make him the top Democratic money-raiser in the House this year.

Even setting aside Murphy’s prodigious fundraising, the money raised by Domino and other Republican candidates in District 18 should set off warning bells for the GOP in a race the party has billed as a top national priority. Recent history shows Domino and the GOP field are lagging behind the fundraising of other challengers who unseated congressional incumbents in Palm Beach County districts.

Since 2006, five members of Palm Beach County’s congressional delegation have lost their seats — Republican Reps. Clay Shaw and Mark Foley in 2006 (Foley resigned before the election, but his name remained on the ballot), Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney in 2008, Democratic Rep. Ron Klein in 2010 and Republican Rep. Allen West in 2012.

In each of those cases, the winning challenger had raised more money from contributors by Dec. 31 of the year before the election than Domino has raised. Even when his substantial personal contribution is added in, Domino lags behind four of the five successful challengers in total fundraising.

Subscribers to MyPalmBeachPost.com can read more about it in this week’s Politics column. Short-term passes are available for as little as 99 cents a day.

With Hasner passing up run for Murphy seat, GOP field appears set in congressional race

Monday, January 27th, 2014 by George Bennett

Hasner, once courted by National Republican Congressional Committee, passes up District 18 race.


Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner confirmed over the weekend that he’s not running for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 seat held by nationally targeted freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

Subscribers to MyPalmBeachPost.com can read more about it by clicking here.

One immediate result of Hasner’s decision: Tallahassee-based Republican strategist Rick Wilson, a Hasner friend who worked on Hasner’s failed U.S. Senate bid in 2011 and 2012, will work on former Tequesta Councilman Calvin Turnquest‘s campaign.

Potential Hasner contributors who were on the sidelines might now give to one of the other GOP candidates in the District 18 race. The other GOP hopefuls include Turnquest, former state Rep. Carl Domino, Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel and former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger. None of Murphy’s would-be Republican challengers has been an impressive fundraiser so far. Federal Election Commission reports covering the last quarter of 2014 are due Friday.

Potential GOP challengers to Rep. Patrick Murphy meet in West Palm Beach today

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 by George Bennett

Six Republicans vying for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast seat of freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, are expected to attend a Republican Club of the Palm Beaches candidate forum in West Palm Beach today.

Follow PostOnPolitics.com and @gbennettpost on Twitter for updates from the event, which is scheduled to begin at noon.

Since narrowly defeating former Rep. Allen West in 2012 in a district that leans slightly Republican, Democrat Murphy has been identified as a top target by national Republicans. But the Republicans who have opened campaigns for the District 18 seat do not appear to have gained much traction with contributors while Murphy has amassed a warchest of more than $1.5 million.

Republicans expected at today’s forum are Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel, former state Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter, former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest, former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger, Tequesta resident and former state House write-in candidate Beverly Hires and Ilya Katz, who ran as a no-party challenger against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2012 and says he intends to run in District 18 this year.

Rare chance for voters to fill circuit judgeship; Dem turnout strategy; Biden factor in Gardens

Monday, January 13th, 2014 by George Bennett

Frank Biden, brother of Vice President Joe Biden, at a recent Palm Beach Gardens council meeting. He's helping one of the candidates in the city's March elections.

Judge Brown

Circuit judge is an elected position, but 24 of the 35 circuit judges in Palm Beach County first got on the bench via gubernatorial appointment. Once in office, sitting judges are rarely challenged. So Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown‘s announcement that she’s retiring at the end of her term sets up a rare open election for a judgeship.

Subscribers to MyPalmBeachPost.com can read about who’s running and who else might get in the judicial race in this week’s Politics column. One-day passes are available for as little as 99 cents.

Also in this week’s column:

** How Palm Beach County Democrats hope to achieve their goal of a 100,000-vote margin in November’s election for governor.

** The latest fundraising estimate for Republican Carl Domino in the nationally watched congressional race for the seat of freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

** How vice presidential brother Frank Biden, an Ocean Ridge resident, could be a factor in the March election in Palm Beach Gardens.

** Which Palm Beach County donor recently joined the $1 million club in supporting Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s re-election.

Frankel breaks with other local House members and votes against budget deal

Friday, December 13th, 2013 by George Bennett

Concerns about Medicare, military pensions and unemployment insurance led Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, to vote no on budget deal.,

A bipartisan budget deal passed the House by a lopsided 332-to-94 margin on Thursday with three members of Palm Beach County’s delegation — Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar; and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter — joining the majority. Former Palm Beach County delegation member Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, also supported the deal.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, voted no, joining a coalition of liberals (including Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Jan Schakowsky of Illiniois) and tea party conservatives (including Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Raul Labrador of Idaho) in opposition.

Said Frankel: “This budget deal is better than the status quo and it’s good to see bipartisan cooperation. With that said, because of the cuts to Medicare, reduction to military retirement payments and leaving millions of Americans desperate without any source of income because of failure to renew unemployment insurance, I voted no.”

Democrat Murphy highlights centrist themes in talk at business breakfast

Friday, December 6th, 2013 by George Bennett

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, speaks at Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches breakfast.

WEST PALM BEACH — Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, played up his centrist credentials at a business breakfast this morning, giving a speech that even Palm Beach County Republican Chairwoman Anita Mitchell didn’t criticize.

Murphy said the lack of productivity in the GOP-led House is “an embarrassment,” but he also spread the blame around during a Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches breakfast.

“I believe it’s leadership that needs to get shaken up a bit in Congress, and that’s on both sides of the aisle,” Murphy said.

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Democrat Patrick Murphy’s potential challengers aren’t on national GOP’s ‘radar’

Thursday, November 21st, 2013 by George Bennett

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a list today of 36 House candidates who are “On The Radar” for 2014.

None of the up-and-coming Republican hopefuls are from Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional District 18, where freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy has been identified as a top national target.

Four Republicans have opened campaigns in District 18 — Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel, who recently landed the endorsement of former Rep. Allen West; former state Rep. Carl Domino; former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger; and former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest — but their fundraising has been lackluster compared to Murphy’s $1.4 million cash on hand. Former state House majority leader Adam Hasner has not ruled out joining the Republican field.

The only Florida congressional candidate on the GOP’s “radar” list is Carlos Curbelo, the Miami-Dade school board member vying for the seat of Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia in Miami.

Tan Man Group: Actor George Hamilton hosting Palm Beach fundraiser for Charlie Crist

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 by George Bennett

Actor George Hamilton (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Actor, part-time Palm Beacher and suntanning icon George Hamilton will be the special guest host Friday for a fundraiser for former Gov. Charlie Crist‘s 2014 Democratic campaign.

The event will be at Casa Apava, the South Ocean Boulevard home of Terry Allen Kramer and Nicholas Simunek.

The host committee for the $1,000-and-up event includes former Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, State Attorney Dave Aronberg, former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, County Commissioners Mary Lou Berger, Priscilla Taylor and Shelley Vana, state Sens. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, and longtime Delray Beach Democratic operative Andre Fladell.

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…

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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.

Enright

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 MyPalmBeachPost.com 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 allenwest.com 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…

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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

Turnquest

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.

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