WASHINGTON -- Most people have never heard of Patrick Murphy.

As the Democratic challenger to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), the 29-year-old family businessman knows he's going to be outspent, out-publicized and generally overshadowed by the Tea Party-backed lawmaker with a penchant for sparking controversy. But that's exactly why Murphy thinks he can beat West in November.

"Yup," Murphy said bluntly when asked, during a sit-down interview last week with The Huffington Post, if his biggest campaign asset is West himself. "Look, I've got no ego. Running against him is a big part of the race."

Murphy, who is new to politics, overwhelmingly won Tuesday's Democratic primary and plans to spend the coming months doing everything he can to build name recognition around Florida's 18th District. His strategy is simple enough: Meet with as many voters as possible and remind them that he's not Allen West.

"Look, I certainly think I have something to offer. I certainly think I have a vision for the country. I think that our generation ... [has] to do something about what's happening to our country. So that is a big part of why I'm doing it," Murphy said of entering the race. "But I'm also not an idiot and realize that everyone knows who West is, and I hope I'm a good contrast to him."

Despite casting himself as the anti-West candidate, Murphy wants people to see that he has a vision of his own, too. He's a pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights but "not ultra-liberal" Democrat who values fiscal responsibility. He's the vice president of his family construction business, and before that, he was a CPA at Deloitte & Touche. He also spent months in the Gulf of Mexico leading an effort to remove oil spilled during the BP disaster.

It was largely West who led Murphy into politics. The Florida native said he was so taken aback by some of the things West was saying in Congress and on TV that he felt compelled to run against him. Among West's more colorful moments, he has said that dozens of House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, that people would be "on a suicide mission" if they questioned his support for the House Republican budget and that Social Security is "a form of slavery." He has also compared being gay to picking an ice cream flavor.

"His extremism and radicalism and the hatred he preaches -- my gosh, whether you're Republican or Democrat, I mean, this is what's killing the country right here. This is totally unbecoming of a leader," Murphy said. "I couldn't believe he got away with it, and then how he was cheered for it."

Murphy is already showing how he plans to use West's words against him. Less than 24 hours after winning the primary, he released a 30-second TV ad that quotes West saying, "If you support Medicare the way it is now, you can kiss the United States of America goodbye." Murphy's campaign spokesman, Anthony Kusich, said in a statement that Murphy's team "need only to show the Congressman's unedited words to demonstrate how out of touch he is."

Murphy and West are competing for a newly drawn district that runs along Florida's Atlantic coast, from just north of Palm Beach up to Fort Pierce. West currently represents Florida's 22nd District, but when 2010 redistricting left that district more Democrat-heavy, West moved to Florida's 18th District. Murphy followed him there to run against him.

Florida's 18th District is about as diverse as they come and is considered the biggest swing district in the state: it breaks down to about 40 percent Republican, 40 percent Democrat and 20 percent somewhere in the middle. President Barack Obama carried the region in 2008, but only by 3 percent.

For those reasons, Murphy thinks he has a real shot at winning if he targets independents and moderates who might be fed up with West's politics. But he faces an uphill battle when it comes to money. West has a national following and ranks among the top fundraisers in all of Congress, pulling in $2.2 million in the second quarter of this year alone. By contrast, Murphy brought in about $507,000 for that same period.

Murphy was quick to point out why he thinks he can compete financially. For starters, West spends most of his money as soon as he raises it. Of the $2.2 million West raised in the second quarter, he has already spent $1.9 million of it almost entirely on mass mailers that went outside of the state, Murphy said. In addition, since West relies so heavily on raising money out of state via direct mail pieces, Murphy is predicting he'll eventually hit a saturation point.

"There's sort of this law of diminishing returns I've learned about with politics," he said. "You hit a saturation point and then it's kind of like another million, it's saturation, it's not as effective as that first million."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already ranked Murphy's race as one of its top three priorities in the country. And a poll the DCCC conducted in May revealed something that few expected: Murphy and West were dead even in support, with 45 percent among voters in the district, despite the fact that Murphy was virtually unknown and his campaign hadn't done much at that point. That finding reinforced Murphy's belief that the more West talks, the more he does to help Murphy. And if that's his most effective campaign tactic, so be it.

"The fact that we're tied just shows how many people dislike West," he said. "They're saying, 'I don't know who Patrick Murphy is, but I'll vote for this guy.'"

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • The Republic Will Collapse

    "It's much the same as Alexis de Tocqueville talked about in 'Democracy In America' -- that this American republic will collapse once Congress and obviously our president realizes they can bribe the public by using the public's treasury," Allen West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/allen-west-obama-republic-will-collapse_n_1428851.html" target="_hplink">told a Florida Tea Party group</a>.

  • Communists

    "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party," Allen West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/allen-west-democrats-communist-party_n_1417279.html" target="_hplink">said at a town hall</a>. "It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."

  • 'Racist' Tax

    "You want to talk about something that's really racist?" West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/allen-west-tanning-salon-tax-racist-_n_1408454.html" target="_hplink">said at a Florida retirement home</a>, referring to a 10 percent tax on tanning salons. "They have a tanning tax. I'm not tanning."

  • Clothing Choices

    Mocking Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) for wearing a hoodie on the House floor, West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/allen-west-bobby-rush-hoodie_n_1389170.html" target="_hplink">said</a>, "I'm thinking about a University of Tennessee big orange colored hoodie-footie, and, you know, see if I can sneak by the security and get in there."

  • Handicapped-Accessible Pools

    "This is another example of the bureaucratic nanny-state not considering the economic ramifications of its insidious regulatory policies," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/allen-west-handicapped-access_n_1385186.html" target="_hplink">said of a proposed regulation</a> to make all public pools handicapped-accessible. "I have talked with and received letters from several South Florida hotels saying this is a wasteful exercise that will cost Florida businesses a lot of money and accomplish nothing."

  • Suicide Mission

    "Anyone challenging me on my support to this visionary plan to restore our economic security will be signing up for a suicide mission," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/allen-west-paul-ryan-budget_n_1372386.html" target="_hplink">wrote on his Facebook</a> about the Ryan budget. "My recommendation to any detractors, read Proverbs 17:28 and heed its advice. It is time for those who understand how to govern, not demagogue."

  • Stock Markets

    West credited the possibility of a Republican winning the 2012 election for helping improve the stock market. "I would think maybe the markets are looking five to six months down the road when we have a change in leadership in this country," <a href="http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/03/allen_west_says_stock_market_i.php" target="_hplink">he said on Fox</a>.

  • Osama Bin Laden

    West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/allen-west-obama-osama-bin-laden_n_1316160.html" target="_hplink">wrote on his Facebook</a> that Barack Obama should stop talking about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. "Please stop with the Osama Bin Laden line, U.S. Navy SEALS double-tapped that rascal," he wrote.

  • 'Second Holocaust'

    West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/allen-west-second-holocaust-israel-iran_n_1304297.html" target="_hplink">warned</a> that the U.S. might not be doing enough to protect Israel against Iran: <blockquote>"You're looking at a second Holocaust" if Israel doesn't "know they can trust and depend upon the stars and stripes ... to provide them support," West told attendees of a town hall meeting last week at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., according to the Palm Beach Post.</blockquote>

  • 'Insidious Form Of Slavery'

    "The Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/allen-west-slavery-democratic-handouts_n_1281570.html" target="_hplink">said in a speech</a>.

  • 'Get The Hell Out'

    "Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/allen-west-liberals-get-out-florida-primary-2012_n_1239247.html" target="_hplink">said, referring to Democratic leaders</a>. "You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."

  • Nazi Comparison

    "If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/allen-west-joseph-goebbels-democrats-propaganda_n_1152365.html" target="_hplink">West said in a speech</a>.

  • Harriet Tubman

    "I'm here as the modern day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility," West said while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/18/allen-west-harriet-tubman_n_930052.html" target="_hplink">making an analogy</a> in which he also compared black leaders like Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to a "plantation boss."

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    In an email to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/19/allen-west-debbie-wasserman-schultz_n_904047.html" target="_hplink">West wrote</a>, "You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up."