09/14/2012 06:05 pm ET

Paul Ryan, Allen West Challengers Raise Money For Each Other

WASHINGTON -- It's not every day you hear about Democratic challengers to well-known Republican lawmakers, in completely different parts of the country, teaming up to raise money for each other.

But the candidates taking on Reps. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) -- who is simultaneously running for vice president and his House seat -- are doing just that.

On Friday, West's challenger, Patrick Murphy, sent an email to supporters tying West to Ryan and urging his backers to give money to Ryan's challenger, Rob Zerban.

"We know our campaign is focused on defeating Allen West this November. But what if I told you that we could help get rid of Paul Ryan on the same day?" Murphy says in the email. "Meet Rob Zerban -- he's the Democrat running for Paul Ryan's Congressional seat in Wisconsin. He and I are fighting similar battles against the radical Republican agenda, and he could use your help."

Murphy contends that Zerban is within single percentage points of Ryan and asks people to give $7 to Zerban's campaign to help defeat Ryan "twice in November," meaning in both the House and vice presidential races.

Murphy campaign spokesman Anthony Kusich told The Huffington Post that the two Democrats "met a little while ago" and decided to send emails to each other's lists since they're in similar races. He said Zerban sent an analogous email to his list on Friday morning, seeking donations for Murphy.

"They are both running against divisive candidates that want to dismantle Medicare and take away a woman's right to choose," Kusich said.

West campaign spokesman Tim Edson dismissed the coordinated effort altogether.

"Having run a disastrous campaign, it looks like Patrick Murphy is turning his focus to helping other liberals who share his goal of continuing the failed policies of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi," Edson said in a statement.

Recent polls show West and Murphy statistically tied; they're competing in the most evenly divided district in Florida. Ryan, meanwhile, holds a more comfortable lead over Zerban and is running in a Republican district.