Larry Sabato moves Patrick Murphy’s FL CD18 race moves from “toss up” to “leans Democratic”

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The 16-day federal shutdown continues to have a ripple effect across the political landscape as recent polling shows Democrats poised to make significant gains ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.

In a generic post-shutdown House poll published in HuffPost Pollster, Alan Abramowitz of Sabato’s Crystal Ball sees Democrats making ground with an average lead of seven points. This puts them in the range of double-digit leads needed by Labor Day to take back the House in 2014.    

One of the most vulnerable incumbent House races is in Florida’s Eighteenth Congressional District, where Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy squeezed out a victory in 2012 over Tea Party agitator Rep. Allen West.

In what was at one time a firm toss-up race, Murphy begins to show traction. Not only has the freshman legislator made legislative headway in his first year in Congress, but he also has $1.4 million cash in his war chest.

Republicans are also having trouble finding a breakout candidate to compete with Murphy. The best GOP name floated in the South Florida race — former state House Majority leader Adam Hasner — seems hesitant about entering the contest.

The FL CD18, once firmly a “toss up” now moves to “Leans Democratic,” according to the Crystal Ball

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.