Rep. Murphy Eyes Specter’s Seat

Posted December 4, 2008 at 11:28am

Add another name to the list of people who are considering a run against Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) in 2010.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), according to one of his closest advisers, is looking at a statewide bid. Murphy was just elected to a second term representing the northern Philadelphia suburbs.

“Patrick is taking the race and considering the race very strongly,” Daren Berringer, a top adviser to Murphy, said Thursday. “He’s certainly weighing a lot of his options for the future, and the U.S. Senate race is very attractive, and he’s looking at it very strongly right now.”

The list of Democrats pondering a challenge to Specter is substantial.

“Hardball” host Chris Matthews has publicly and privately discussed a bid with Pennsylvania Democratic officials. A former top aide to the late Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), Matthews already has an informal agreement with a prominent Philadelphia media consultant to work for his campaign should he run.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) has also expressed interest in running.

“She loves her job in Congress, especially the work that she’ll be able to do in 2009 on health care,” Schwartz spokeswoman Rachel Magnuson said. “But she’s not going to shut that door.”

State House Deputy Speaker Josh Shapiro (D) is also said to interested in challenging Specter.

Above all, Murphy’s advisers stress that his biggest strength could be his fundraising prowess. In his first term in Congress, Murphy raised $3.7 million, though reported having $1.5 million in his bank account in mid-October. Schwartz had $3.1 million in the bank on that date, while Sestak had $2.2 million. Updated campaign finance reports are due to be filed with the Federal Election Commission at the end of the day today.

Another plus for Murphy, according to Berringer, could be his ties to President-elect Barack Obama. Murphy was one of the first Members of Congress outside of Illinois to endorse Obama in the presidential primary.

“Patrick having been on Barack Obama’s presidential team from very early on, I think shows Patrick as a real agent of change and someone as Pennsylvanians are looking at the future, they can see good contrast in our current Senator,” Berringer said.

Murphy would likely make a decision about the Senate race by early 2009.