Democrat Amanda Murphy's campaign for House 36 picked up a key endorsement Thursday from a statewide heavyweight: U.S. Senator Bill Nelson."The voters of Pasco County deserve a representative that will be an independent voice in the Florida Legislature, and Amanda Murphy will do just that," Nelson said in a news release. "Her experience in the private sector will make her an effective leader in Tallahassee who will protect Pasco's middle class."Murphy, a vice president at Raymond James Financial, returned the compliment by praising Nelson's "distinguished record as a defender of Florida's middle class."The race for House 36, a swing district that covers much of Pasco west of Little Road, is expected to be a dogfight, with Republican Bill Gunter, a Presbyterian minister, also being endorsed by House Speaker Will Weatherford and a host of Republican leaders. Former Rep. Mike Fasano, who gave up the seat this summer when he was appointed Pasco County tax collector, said he plans to stay on the sidelines and has warned both candidates not to use his name in campaign materials.The election is Oct. 15.