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FDP comms director Joshua Karp to join Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Communications Director for the Florida Democratic Party Joshua Karp is leaving his post to join U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy‘s Democratic campaign to replace outgoing Marco Rubio in the Senate.

Karp will remain with the FDP — where press secretary and Twitter gadfly extraordinaire Max Steele is set to replace him — until the end of the month. He has worked with the state party since 2013.

The William & Mary alum coordinated closely with fellow comms guru Eric Conrad on a media strategy to elect U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham to Congress last year.

Their moderate “North Florida Way” messaging — combined with a robust ground game and unusually high interest in a race featuring the daughter of iconic Florida pol Bob Graham, a former governor and U.S. senator — helped to oust incumbent Republican Steve Southerland in CD 2 along Florida’s eastern Panhandle.

Conrad said the duo will continue to strike fear into state GOP-ers, albeit from different posts.

“Max and Joshua are two communications staffers you want on your side in a tough fight like the one we had in 2014,” Conrad said Thursday afternoon. “Congressman Murphy and the FDP are lucky to have them.”

The moves come as Murphy navigates a potentially tricky primary with U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and little-known corporate attorney Pam Keith.

Advocates on behalf of both of have stoked tensions among left-leaning base voters on the basis that establishment Democrats are “in the tank” for Murphy, a well-funded moderate who easily won re-election last year despite electoral headwinds in a conservative-leaning midterm cycle.

Sources familiar with the personnel moves deflected claims Karp’s ascension reflected any preference on the part of the FDP, saying Karp made the move on his own, without coordinating with higher-ups in the party.

Democratic strategist Steve Schale also offered kind words on the occasion of Karp’s new gig.

“Joshua is a sharp and capable flack,” Schale said Thursday. “He has great relationships and a depth of experience in this tricky state. He’s a very smart hire.”

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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