Patrick Murphy went to Capitol Hill Tuesday for freshman orientation. It is reserved for newcomers to Congress and Murphy has every intention of being a new Democrat in the House.
That is the confident tone he sounded even as legal arguments get louder in the contested District 18 congressional race between Murphy and Republican Allen West.
Murphy said, "I'm excited to be here. I've been talking to voters back home in District 18 and they are ready to put the campaign behind them. It was a long, dirty campaign. I am here to get to work. I have a lot to learn and I want to hit the ground running come January."
West and his supporters have plenty of legal arguments that say otherwise, but Murphy is unfazed and believes his lead in the final vote count will withstand any court scrutiny. His mood was buoyed by the warm embrace from his party's minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.
At a news conference for freshmen Democrats she singled out Murphy to say a few words.
Murphy told me, "It was an honor to be chosen to do that. I'm the youngest new member of Congress and she wanted to show the diversity of the newly elected members. I think, most importantly, she wanted to show there is a new wave of moderation in our country and defeating Allen West, defeating one of the leaders of the Tea Party sends a message not only to the American people but to this Congress that extremism is over."
Murphy says he's ready to reach and work across the aisle. He is still waiting to see if the outcome of his election allows him the chance to do just that.
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