Patrick Murphy Didn’t Vote in Primaries Until He Was a Candidate

Murphy skipped primary elections before becoming Democrat in 2011

Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy / AP
August 26, 2016

Patrick Murphy voted in a primary election this week, something he had never done before his name first appeared on a ballot in 2012, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of his Florida voter history.

Murphy needs Florida voters to show up for next week’s Florida primary and vote for him over fellow Democratic congressman Alan Grayson, who has kept the race closer than most political onlookers thought he would.

Murphy, born in 1983, was first eligible to vote in 2001 and first showed up to vote at a Dade County polling place for the 2004 general election. He skipped the primary that year, as he would do in 2006, 2008, and 2010, according to documents obtained from the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections.

That all changed after Murphy surprised his family by announcing he was pursuing a career in politics.

Murphy hired a political consultant in January 2011 to map out his run for Congress. He then changed his party affiliation to Democrat and moved out of his Miami Beach apartment to Palm Beach County.

He cast a ballot for himself in his first primary election on Aug. 14, 2012, according to documents from the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.

The record shows that Murphy went on to vote again in the 2012 general election, in both the 2014 primary and general elections, and most recently in the 2016 presidential primary. Murphy cast his ballots early in each case, just as he did this week when he voted for an election that officially occurs on Aug. 30.

The Murphy campaign did not respond to questions about whether the candidate believes that voting in primary elections is an important part of Floridians’ civic duty, even when they are not standing for public office themselves.

Murphy’s father has been the top contributor to all three of Murphy’s campaigns, and even he was shocked when he found out that his son had political aspirations.

"When Patrick told me he wanted to run for Congress, I was surprised," Thomas Murphy Jr. told CBS4 investigative reporter Jim DeFede.

DeFede, who researched Murphy’s life prior to his 2011 decision to run for Congress, wrote that in 2010 Murphy "did not seem destined to join [the political] ranks."

"He was 27 years old and living in a high-rise condo on Miami Beach," DeFede wrote.

Murphy was struggling as an aspiring CPA and decided to try his hand in the oil skimming industry following the oil spill off Florida’s Gulf Coast.

His father created an environmental offshoot to his construction company, but the business failed to get off its feet while oil skimmers were still needed, according to DeFede.

Murphy still used the business venture to cast himself as a small business owner during his successful 2012 run for Congress.

"Once oil skimming operations ceased, Murphy returned to South Florida," DeFede wrote. "Within a matter of weeks, in January 2011, Murphy hired a political consultant to map out his run for Congress and soon began stressing his credentials: ‘As a small business owner, as a CPA, I’ve actually created jobs.’"

Murphy held a photo op during his trip to the polls on Wednesday to publicize his decision to vote in this year’s primary.

The trip ended in criticism, as numerous local outlets blasted his campaign for blocking a tracker from entering the room where Murphy was speaking with the press.