Florida: West Challenger Follows Him to New District

Posted February 8, 2012 at 3:09pm

Democratic businessman Patrick Murphy, who had been running in Florida’s 22nd district, announced today he would follow in the footsteps of freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and run in the proposed 18th district.

“Allen West abandoned his constituents to find supposedly safer political ground. Today, our campaign is putting Mr. West on notice: There is no safe district he can run to,” Murphy said in a statement.

“I have spoken to local and national Democratic leaders, as well as local activists and the support for me continuing my campaign against Allen West is overwhelming,” he added. Murphy and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel were vying for the Democratic nomination to take on West, who recently announced he was running in a district composed of mostly new territory.

In an interview with Roll Call on Tuesday, West was asked about the potential of Murphy following him to the new district.

“That would be a very dangerous thing,” West said. “If he goes back and studies Hannibal, you may not want to follow a very savvy person that just avoided an ambush because obviously they got something that’s waiting for you.”

West recommended Murphy read up on the Battle of Cannae, in which Hannibal fought the Roman Legions. “Never follow someone who just avoided your ambush,” he said.

The proposed 18th district is a tossup district under redistricting lines likely to be signed into law. The redrawn 22nd will lean comfortably Democratic. Frankel has said she will continue running in the 22nd. The likely Republican nominee in the now open seat is former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Though both will have comfortable bankrolls, West, 51, appears to have an early edge on Murphy, 29, if he ends up being the Democratic nominee.