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Dems pick up seat in Florida House with Murphy upset in Pasco

Democrat Amanda Murphy won a special election to the Florida House on Tuesday, claiming the west Pasco seat vacated by popular Republican Mike Fasano, who broke with his party's leaders to endorse her.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Murphy held a 297-vote lead over Republican Bill Gunter. Many observers expected the race to be close.

"It was a nail-biter," she told Bay News 9 from her victory party at Boulevard Beef and Ale in downtown New Port Richey. "I'm just very proud to represent west Pasco County today."

Murphy is a financial adviser for Raymond James making her first run for office.

Gunter is a Presbyterian minister who had the county's most powerful leaders and a Tallahassee-funded war chest behind him.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, future Speaker Richard Corcoran, Sheriff Chris Nocco and schools Superintendent Kurt Browning were among the prominent Republicans helping his candidacy.

But it was Fasano's backing that mattered most. After vowing to stay neutral in the race, Fasano revealed he had voted absentee for Murphy and urged others to do the same. Then, in a television appearance Friday, he formally endorsed her.

The election was set up when Fasano resigned in August to become Pasco's tax collector.

A one-time stalwart Republican soldier, particularly during the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, Fasano burnished his bipartisan appeal in recent years, often to the ire of GOP leaders. He supported Charlie Crist's independent run for Senate over Republican nominee Marco Rubio in 2010, and earlier this year called for Medicaid expansion in Florida under the Affordable Care Act.

"Mike Fasano stepping in and endorsing and believing in me is what pushed this over," Murphy said.

 

Comments

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Javier

Upset? Democrats have a registration edge and Obama won in the district.

JoHNny HoTheAD

Yeah, it was an upset because the numbers you cite make it an eve race, and the RPOF. Out spent the FDP by several to one....

Don't Cry On Me

Will Lenny Curry and the Florida GOP (RiPOF) ever win a race in Florida? Ever since the RiPOF cronies lost so ugly that race in Jax, where a Republican held the seat for 20 years, they have not been the same.

Even with a fresh RNC team they can't get but some stupid tweets about Crist to prove their existence. Where is the Rick Scott Tea Partay team now?

JA

This has noting to do with Currie or the central party office. This is all on the House braintrust. Their candidate, their strategy, their fundraising.

They are starting to look as stupid as the Ted Cruz bozo caucus intent on destroying the Republicans.

Amanda Murphy should have lost this race, but no way she loses to a guy this nutty and right winged.

H Mary

So the finger pointing from the Florida GOP central office to the Florida house starts now. Lenny Curry took responsibility for all republicans races in Florida. He's the cigar smoking chief. What an egg on his face.

They need to release the gerrymandering emails from the house brain trust that show electoral fraud.

RS

Scott needs to fire Lenny curry for incompetence. At least he should take away all his Jim Greer perks.

Java

This is what you get when you recruit and fund bad candidates in moderate districts. Oliva had better wake up or he will be a fine minority leader. These seats in the House are only getting harder for Republicans from here on out.

Good Riddance

The beginning of the end of Florida as a red state thanks to the failed leadership of Rick Scott and Lenny Curry.

Todd Hutcheson

I wonder if his name, being the same as former statewide elected official, hurt him?
I would say yes. Made him look like an insider and people are not happy right now with whoever is in office.

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