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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In glow of Amanda Murphy victory, it's as if last month never happened for Dems

15

October

Remember all the disarray surrounding the Florida House Democrats last month? It led to incoming leader Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg getting replaced by Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach? Remember?

It seemed like so long ago Tuesday night with Amanda Murphy’s win against the GOP’s Bill Gunter.

“That we were outspent, conservatively speaking, three to one, probably a lot higher, that you had big money coming into the campaign and we were still able to pull it out, well, that restores my faith that people still know they control their destiny in Florida,” said Pafford. “It was wonderful to see the Florida Democratic Party and House Victory and the Caucus come together. It was a terrific team effort.”

Now at 45 seats in the Florida House, Democrats still have a long way to go catch up to the 75 Republicans who occupy the chamber. But don’t be surprised if the Dems use Murphy’s victory to goose fundraising heading into 2014. Did the government shutdown or Obamacare play a factor? Pafford said Democrats will be studying this race in the coming weeks.

“This isn’t a fluke,” Pafford said.

Republicans were quick to show respect.

"The Republican Party of Florida congratulates Bill Gunter on running an honorable campaign that he, his family, his friends and his staff can be proud of,” said Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry in a statement. “We also congratulate Amanda Murphy on winning the election, and wish her luck as she begins her service in the Florida House."

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford tweeted: A wise man once told me that you don't brag when you win and you don't whine when you lose. Congrats to @VoteAmanda on her victory #FlaHouse

And the tweet of the night came from the guy who many credit with the upset.

"The little guy and gal spoke tonight," Mike Fasano tweeted. "Let's hope Tallahassee hears them. God bless."

Meanwhile, for Dems, it seemed like the whole squabble from last month was just a bad dream. Especially for Jeff Ryan. He was the finance director for the campaigns of House candidates who lost his job when party leaders discovered he had helped create a special fundraising committee that only Rouson could control. 

Pafford said he rehired Ryan, who had held the finance director position for more than a decade, last week.

"He's going to have the same exact role," Pafford said. "It puts us on a steady type of footing. It allows me to make improvements in our operation. By the end of the year, I hope to have a permanent team in place. It's immediate stability that allows us to keep working."

Almost as if nothing had happened. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:36pm]

    

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