Amanda Murphy Edges Bill Gunter to Win Pasco County House Seat
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The Democrats picked up a seat in the Florida House on Tuesday as Amanda Murphy, a vice president with Raymond James, defeated Republican Bill Gunter, a Presbyterian pastor, in a close contest for the open seat representing parts of Pasco County.
The House seat had been held by former Rep. Mike Fasano who left it when he was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to be Pasco County tax collector earlier this summer. Despite being a Republican, Fasano endorsed Murphy over Gunter.
Democrats insisted on Tuesday night that Murphy’s victory meant Florida voters were tired of Republican rule in Tallahassee.
"I congratulate Representative-elect Amanda Murphy on her victory tonight. Amanda has proven that she will be the kind of independent voice that the people of Pasco County deserve,” said Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democrats. “Tonight, Pasco voters sent a clear message to the Republican politicians in Tallahassee that they are tired of the go-along, get-along atmosphere funded by the wealthy special interests. In Amanda Murphy, they have sent a strong advocate for middle-class Floridians to Tallahassee, where I am certain she will represent them well."
Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), had praise for Gunter and warm words for Murphy on Tuesday night.
"The Republican Party of Florida congratulates Bill Gunter on running an honorable campaign that he, his family, his friends and his staff can be proud of,” Curry said. “We also congratulate Amanda Murphy on winning the election, and wish her luck as she begins her service in the Florida House."
Other politicians also weighed in after the race was called.
“The little guy and gal spoke tonight,” Fasano posted on Twitter after Murphy was declared the winner. “Let's hope Tallahassee hears them.”
Incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merrit Island, blamed attacks on Gunter for his loss. "Today, the voters of Pasco County have spoken,” Crisafulli said. “I congratulate Amanda Murphy for her victory tonight. I also commend Bill Gunter for running a strong race in the face of a relentless negative campaign against him. Amanda Murphy campaigned as an independent voice, so I am hopeful she will reject the special interests to work for common-sense solutions to Florida's challenges."
With Murphy’s win, Democrats control 45 of the 120 seats in the Florida House.
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