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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Patrick Murphy dismisses 'gotcha' question about his father bankrolling campaign



Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy assured a St. Petersburg audience Friday that he finds the prevalence of big money in politics "disgusting" and that he is determined to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that opened to doors to unlimited donations by individuals and corporations.

But when asked by the Tampa Bay Times about the possibility of cutting off the biggest source of money flowing into his U.S. Senate race - his Republican father, who so far has given at least $200,000 - Murphy made it clear it did not appreciate the question.

"I hate the money in politics, and I hate the sort of gotcha questions too," said the Palm Beach County congressman, drawing applause from members of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

Murphy, 32, is running against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, for the Democratic Senate nomination and so far has raised far more money than anyone else in the race, including four Republicans. In addition to the $5.6-million he has raised directly for his senate campaign, a super PAC political committee, Floridians for a Strong Middle Class, backing his candidacy has raised more than $500,000, including $200,000 from his wealthy father.

His father, Thomas Murphy, is CEO of the Coastal Construction firm based in Miami, who in 2012 spent more than $550,000 helping his son unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West.

"I'm on every piece of legislation to overturn Citizens United, and I will continue fighting to overturn Citizens United because we have to. We've also got to do something about the hard money piece and the amount of time that elected officials and not focused on the issues," Murphy told the Suncoast Tiger Bay members in St. Petersburg. "I'm on every single bill out there to make sure we get money out of politics."

Asked after the luncheon, whether he was co-sponsoring a bill by another senate candidate, U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, that would ban federal office-holders from directly asking for campaign donations, Murphy said he was vaguely aware of his and was "still checking it out."

His primary opponent, Grayson, has repeatedly criticized Murphy and what Grayson calls "Daddy's PAC," but Murphy brushed off the suggestion that he could ask his father to stop putting so much money in the race.

"I'd love to get the money out of politics," he told the Times. "I'm certainly not going to single handedly disarm though."
Asked about his father being a Republican and whether the disagreed on many issues, Murphy said he could not think of any offhand.

[Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2016 5:52pm]


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