Florida’s 18th Congressional District wasn’t supposed to elect a Democrat. After all, Mitt Romney had carried it by four points and the district’s base in Port St. Lucie and Martin County is custom fit for a moderately conservative, pro-business Republican.
But that is not who Republicans nominated in 2012. Instead they chose former Rep. Allen West, a conservative firebrand from a neighboring district who saw his constituency moved out from under him in the post-2010 redistricting. Democrats nominated 29-year-old Patrick Murphy, who wasn’t initially seen as a top-tier challenger to West but who pulled ahead by 2,000 votes on election night.
This year, Murphy has largely avoided a top-tier challenger and has raised large sums of money. The Republican lean of his district means he can probably never be truly safe, but he seems to be in good shape this cycle against former state Rep. Carl Domino.