Democratic primary voters have a choice between a true-blue believer and a privileged son of a GOP mega donor.
By Jacob Engels
Ever since, and before being elected to Congress, South Florida’s Patrick Murphy has been the master of flip-flopping. First he was a bonafide GOP mega-donor like his wealthy developer and political financier father, cutting a maxed out check for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney in 2008.
As he inched closer to a presidential bid though, Murphy’s father told him it would be “tough” for him to beat conservative rock-star Allen West in a GOP primary and that Patrick’s best shot at DC was running as a Democrat.
“The people don’t care. We have the money and can win this. But only if you Patrick runs as a Democrat,” explained Thomas Murphy to a close family friend months before his son changed his registration to run against first term Congressman Allen West.
Murphy would go on to defeat West in the nation’s most expensive congressional race in history, buoyed largely by shadow donations and millions of dollars in outside spending from SuperPACs funded by his father and his upper crust millionaire and billionaire friends.
In his first term, Murphy did however return to his conservative roots by siding with the GOP on hot-button issues like the Keystone Pipeline and voicing his opposition to President Obama’s plan for Syrian refugees. A staffer for former GOP House Speaker John Boehner told me that Murphy was one of the leaderships best assets on the other side of the aisle.
“Patrick is a Republican at heart. He did what he needed to do to get elected.”
Demonstrating his deep allegiance to his father’s business interest, Murphy was an early supporter of a proposed high-speed rail project that would stretch from Miami to Orlando and rely entirely on private funding. He even submitted a letter of support with fellow congressman and congresswomen from Florida in support of the new transportation project.
But when his father lost out on a lucrative multi-million dollar contract from the All Aboard Florida railway, Murphy immediately turned against it, contradicting his previous stance and claiming he had concerns about the “finances” of the high speed rail proposal.
Ali Kurnaz, who serves as the Communications Director for the Florida Young Democrats has been a vocal critic of Murphy, especially following his siding with Republicans on the Syrian refugee vote.
“Congressman Murphy has a consistent and ongoing record of being on the wrong side of history.
Murphy’s and Congresswoman Graham’s latest votes to end the Syrian refugee resettlement program put them in the same column with those who cower in the face of hysteria and bigotry. The people of Florida are absolutely fed up with the weather vanes representing them in Congress—we need authentic leaders who will keep their moral compasses pointed in a true direction for justice, equality, and fairness,” explained Kurnaz.
Recently, Orlando Politics publisher Frank Torres reported on a social media and email campaign started by the Progressive Democrats of Florida, highlighting Murphy’s conservative leanings as a “Romney Ringer,” a sign that a large contingent of Democratic voters in Florida are less than interested in a Murphy bid. The Facebook page can be seen here.
As Florida Democrats and Democrats nationwide are saying no to career politicians and elected leaders who sell their vote for political expediency in the Clinton vs. Sanders race, will they do the same in the Patrick Murphy vs. Alan Grayon U.S. Senate primary for the Democratic nomination?
For Florida Democrats, the choice for their standard bearer should be clear, progressive crusader Alan Grayson is their man.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org