Florida Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy Announces Candidacy

Two-term Democratic U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy announced on Monday he will run in 2016 for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Marco Rubio.

In a recently conducted statewide survey of 522 adults (433 likely voters) who were asked which potential candidate they would support for the Democratic nomination if they ran for the United States Senate in 2016, they responded with former Governor Charlie Christ (33%), U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (14%), and U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (8%) ranking in the top three. However, Murphy was right on Castor’s heels, drawing 7% support.

It should be noted that according to recent news reports, Charlie Crist and Debbie Wasserman Schultz appear to be final regarding their decision not to run for the U.S. Senate. The Saint Leo poll was conducted while they were still considering running.

The following question has an N of 179 and include only self-identified Democrats who are also “likely voters,” that is, those individuals who said they vote “all of the time” or “most of the time.”

Which of the following potential candidates would you support for the Democratic nomination if they ran for United States Senate in 2016?


33 % Former Governor Charlie Crist
14 % Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
8 % Congresswoman Kathy Castor
7 % Congressman Patrick Murphy
4 % Congressman Ted Deutch
1 % Former state legislator Dan Gelber
13 % Some other candidate
20 % Don’t know / not sure


“While only garnering 7% in our poll, Congressman Murphy is the first one in the race and, based on his past track record, he has the ability to raise considerable cash to support his campaign,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University.

Murphy, 31, beat Republican Congressman Allen West in 2012 before easily defeating former State Representative Carl Domino in 2014. Murphy, who resides in Jupiter on Florida’s east coast, represents a congressional district that includes St. Lucie and Martin counties and northern Palm Beach County.

His announcement sets the stage for major financial resources to be expended in a high-profile Senate race next year – whether Rubio seeks re-election or decides instead to run for president.

“Few Democrats represent a district as conservative as his, he has a relatively moderate voting record, and he is a ‘quality’ challenger to Senator Rubio. Now, if Senator Rubio foregoes a bid for re-election, you can expect other quality Democrats to jump into the race,” continued Orlando.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University poll of 522 Florida adults, including 433 likely voters, was conducted between March 15 and March 21, 2015. The margin of error on political questions (of likely voters only) is approximately 5 percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allows for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive – usually $1 dollar deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account – for their participation.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Over its more than 125-year history, Saint Leo has provided access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

Today the university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Saint Leo University boasts more than 70,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, three U.S. territories, and 70 countries.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at kim.payne@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at jo-ann.johnston@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.