In swing district, Rep. Patrick Murphy has to tread carefully
WASHINGTON — To celebrate his 30th birthday, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida threw himself a campaign fundraiser. Then another. And another. And another.
The four events this spring helped make Murphy, a Democrat from Jupiter, one of the House's top fundraisers, and he can't let up.
Scraping out victory in the country's most expensive and vicious House race of 2012, and ending the career of tea party hero Allen West in the process, Murphy faces another high-profile campaign that will test the delicate line he walks in a quintessential swing district.
It will also answer the burning question of whether voters like what they see in the young Democrat, who is trying to cultivate a bipartisan voting record, or if they had simply seen enough of the bombastic West.
"It's a microcosm of House Democrats' dilemma," said David Wasserman, an elections expert with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "While the national Republican brand is historically abysmal, Democrats have more raw, vulnerable seats to defend, and Murphy's is a prime example."
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