Let’s hear it for Patrick Murphy’s consultant, Eric Johnson

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Steve Schale. Dylan Sumner. Steve Vancore. Ashley Walker. Screven Watson.

These are five of the biggest names in Florida Democratic politics. If they were NFL quarterbacks, they’d be Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and Phillip Rivers, although not in any corresponding order.

Trouble is, the only Super Bowl winners on that list are Brady and Manning. Yet a two-time Super Bowl winner, Eli Manning, is not mentioned enough as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

This is not say Schale, Sumner, Vancore, Walker or Watson haven’t won their share of Super Bowls. But it sure seems like Eric Johnson, the right hand of U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and one of South Florida’s most successful political consultants, is the Eli Manning of Florida Democratic politics. All the guy does is win, yet he’s not mentioned enough as one of the elite consultants in the state.

Mind you, Johnson, who previously served as consigliere to U.S. Reps Ted Deutch and Robert Wexler, has long been recognized by those in the know as one of the best in political consulting industry, but what he has done with Murphy is nothing short of remarkable.

Two years ago, political prognosticators gave Murphy not much more than a fair chance of knocking off incumbent Republican Allen West in a GOP-tilting district (Mitt Romney carried it with 52 percent of the vote), but beat West he did. Almost as soon as Murphy headed to D.C. he became a prime target for the GOP. Yet today, less than 100 days before the election, Murphy is well on his way to a second term.

Last week, The Rothenberg Report moved CD 18 from Lean Democrat to Democrat Favored, all but taking the seat off the board of competitive seats.

“(T)he congressman’s fundraising, endorsements and campaign have him in progressively better position for a second term,” writes Nathan Gonzales of Roll Call.

Think about that, in the course of two years, Murphy has gone from David to Goliath.

Murphy’s slingshot of a political consultant, Eric Johnson, deserves credit for helping to make that happen.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.