Florida Democrats added one more to their 44-member minority in the Florida House on Tuesday by narrowly capturing a Pasco County legislative seat in a special election.

The former holder of the office, Republican Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, had been tapped by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as Pasco tax collector, and the GOP candidate to replace him, Bill Gunter, had a nearly three-to-one financial advantage over Democrat Amanda Murphy (if you count just direct spending by the campaigns and in-kind support from the parties).

For incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, this was his first loss as the defender-in-chief of the House majority. “Amanda Murphy campaigned as an independent voice, so I am hopeful she will reject the special interests to work for common sense solutions to Florida’s challenges,” he said in a statement after the loss.

Democrats quickly claimed the race could indicate bigger things to come next year, or even 2016.

Murphy squeaked by in a race that had turned negative, winning by 322 votes — or a 1.7 percent margin — in a race with 19.9 percent turnout. She also benefitted from a rare series of intervening events unlikly to be duplicated in next year’s general election.

Click here for the story in the Orlando Sentinel.

What does Amanda Murphy’s win mean for 2014? – Orlando Sentinel
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