No challenger against Patrick Murphy but the GOP strikes regardless

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The National Republican Congressional Committee began online video ad buys today attacking freshman Congressman Patrick Murphy one of seven US Democrats being targeted as vulnerable, despite the fact that no Republican challenger has been fielded to take him on.

According to Post on Politics, the $2,000 of online ads allege that Murphy “fits right in” in DC, voting to allow Congressmen to fly first class on the taxpayers’ dime and voting against balancing the budget.

The claims are only marginally on point, considering that the elimination of taxpayer-funded first class travel was a tiny piece of a larger bill that Murphy voted against; and Murphy did in fact break with most House Democrats to vote for a Republican balanced-budget resolution.  Murphy was also one of a few D’s to vote against their own party’s budget proposals — saying these were not serious enough about entitlement reform — among various other line-crossing votes.

While many Republicans feel that he has only broken with his party so on soft votes, it does appear Murphy has taken seriously his campaign vow of working in a bipartisan, independent way.

Murphy, who just turned 30, had been a Republican until 2011 when he switched parties due to misgivings about the influence of the tea party movement. He narrowly unseated Allen West in a district with more registered Republicans than Democrats, and where Romney won 51.5 percent of the vote — all of which is a good recipe for staying on the radar.