Among the many red-meat speeches delivered at the Florida Democrats’ 2013 state convention this weekend, several names popped up over and over again. Rick Scott, of course, and Ted Cruz to draw boos and jeers. Barack Obama, and Amanda Murphy, for cheers.
Murphy, the recent winner of a special election in Pasco County for the Florida House, is one of the rare success stories Democrats have seen in recent years and one of the main rays of hope that the party’s fortunes are turning.
State Party chairwoman Allison Tant cited Murphy’s narrow win over Republican Bill Gunter as a sign that Democrats are energized and ready to get organized in an off-year election when Democratic turnout is usually low.
“You just saw in Pasco County the Amanda Murphy race, and you saw the turnout there. The turnout numbers were higher there than ever in a special election. That is because Dems are very, very anxious to participate,” Tant said. “Amanda Murphy’s election was the first step toward unseating Rick Scott.”
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz cited Murphy’s win as evidence of how tarnished the Republican brand is, both nationally and in Florida.
“Take Amanda Murphy’s race, which was going on in the middle of a shutdown,” said Wasserman Schultz, who represents a U.S. House district in South Florida. “It is a classic example of how voters in a swing area like Pasco — which has consistently leaned more center right than center left — and they elected Amanda Murphy. And Mike Fasano, the Republican tax collector who I served with (in the Florida House) and was one of the most conservative Republicans that I’ve ever served with, endorsed the Democratic candidate. That’s how far gone the Republicans are.”
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