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Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay files to run for Patrick Murphy’s congressional seat

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Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay today announced her candidacy to succeed U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in Congress representing Florida Congressional District 18.

“I plan to bring the same passion I have for good policy in Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast to our nation’s Capitol,” McKinlay said in a statement. “People are looking for common sense solutions and an advocate they know will have their back. I’ve spent my life advocating for causes that positively impact people, save lives and result in a better quality of life for everyone.”

McKinlay was just elected to serve on the Commission last November. She joins an increasingly crowded CD 18 field, which also includes fellow Commissioner Priscilla Taylor and retired engineer John (Juan) Xuna on the Democratic side.

Republicans who have announced their candidacy for what has been considered a swing district include former state Rep. Carl Domino, who was shellacked by Murphy in the race for CD 18 last November, losing by nearly 20 percentage points. Martin County School Board member Rebecca Negron is also in the race. She’s the wife of state Stuart Republican state Sen. Joe Negron.

In her press release, McKinlay says her campaign will center on growing the economy, providing economic opportunities for Florida’s families, and focusing on solutions to problems, as opposed to partisan bickering.

“As I travel throughout these three counties, I hear the stories of many families who are struggling to make ends meet.” McKinlay said. “They are asking who in Washington works for them. So I’m running to be that voice for those who feel left out. I will make sure that everyone, from the middle school teacher to the truck driver to the hard-working single mom, has a fair shot at the American Dream.”

Murphy announced in March that he was leaving his seat that he’s held for just over two years to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, and has quickly garnered support from all elements of the party since, as well as the endorsement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The 32-year-old Murphy defeated Tea Party favorite Allen West for the congressional seat back in 2012.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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