Florida Democratic congressional candidate Patrick Murphy is pursuing conservative firebrand Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) into his new district, vowing to make the congressman's reelection quest difficult.
Murphy had been running against West as one of the Democratic candidates in the 22nd District. Last week he called West a "coward" for choosing to flee the bluer 22nd District for the more reliably conservative 18th District.
Murphy's move leaves the 22nd District's Democratic nomination more open for former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel (D). The two had been engaged in a fundraising battle and were potentially headed for a heated primary clash.
According to Murphy's announcement, he has already raised over $1.4 million and amassed 15,000 online supporters over the course of his campaign efforts in the 22nd District.
In a press release, Murphy, a CPA and small business owner, touts the support of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and other party heavyweights in Florida.
"I am so impressed with Patrick Murphy," Wasserman Schultz wrote. "He has run an energetic, disciplined campaign and has proven to be one of the most formidable fundraisers in the country. I am thrilled he is going to continue to take this fight to Allen West and confident he will defeat him in November."
"I believe that all Americans should have equal rights, regardless of race, creed, gender, religion, or sexual orientation - including the rights to marry, adopt, and be free from discrimination," Murphy writes on his website. "I am committed to fighting for the equal rights of the LGBT community both here in Florida and across the nation."
Earlier this month, West abandoned his current district after redistricting allowed Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who currently represents the 18th Congressional District, to switch to an open, Republican-leaning district.
West has put up hefty fundraising numbers recently, bringing in $1.75 million in the last quarter of 2011 and reporting $2.7 million total cash on hand.
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