Rothenberg Report upgrades Patrick Murphy’s chances of re-election

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At first, pundits predicted that freshman U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy would be swept up in a disastrous midterm cycle for Democrats.

Now, that may not be the case, writes Anthony Man of the South Florida SunSentinel.

Rothenberg Political Report, an influential source of independent political ratings, said on Thursday that Murphy’s re-election prospects are looking a bit more favorable.

Murphy narrowly defeated Tea Party darling Allen West in 2012 to represent Florida’s 18th Congressional District, which covers northern Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

West had moved north to the newly drawn CD 18 from his Broward-Palm Beach district, thinking it would give him a better chance at a second term.

Ultimately, Murphy won with 50.3 percent of the vote in a district also taken by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Originally, Rothenberg rated the district “tossup/tilts Democrat.” Man notes that Rothenberg now rates it as “leans Democrat.”

“Murphy has been one of the most prolific fundraisers in the entire House,” Rothberg’s Nathan L. Gonzales wrote in Roll Call, noting he raised more than $675,000 in the first quarter of 2014, with more than $2.2 million cash in hand by March 31.

Republicans seem to be lining up behind former state Rep. Carl Domino for the Aug. 26 primary, who wrote his campaign a large personal check. As of the end of March, Domino had $388,000 in his war chest.

The makeup of CD 18 – as well as the national political climate — could pose a challenge for Murphy in the race, but not enough label the race a toss-up, at least just yet.

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.