By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — In a blow to state and national Democrats, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy said Monday she will not seek a fourth term in 2022 in her Central Florida district.
Murphy, a moderate “Blue Dog” Democrat who toppled longtime Republican Congressman John Mica in 2016, said in a video announcement that deciding not to run again “was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision.”
“These last few years have been some of the most rewarding moments of my life, but also some of the most challenging,” Murphy said. “Public service is not without personal sacrifice, and as a mom of two young children, my time away from them has been hard. For them. For me. And for our family.”
Murphy, 43, represents Congressional District 7, which is made up of Seminole County and part of Orange County. The district will be redrawn in 2022 as part of the once-a-decade reapportionment process, and many Republicans have considered it as a potential seat to flip.
A blog post on the National Republican Congressional Committee website Monday was headlined “DOWN GOES MURPHY.”
“Stephanie Murphy, one of the most endangered Democrats in the country, is retiring,” the blog post said.
Murphy was a high-profile player this year in debates about President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which was designed to address issues from climate change to child tax credits. She ended up supporting the legislation last month, despite expressing concerns.
“While I continue to have reservations about the overall size of the legislation — and concerns about certain policy provisions that are extraneous or unwise — I believe there are too many badly needed investments in this bill not to advance it in the legislative process,” Murphy said in a statement at the time. “I will work with my Senate colleagues to improve this bill, and I hope to vote on — and enact — a more streamlined version of the bill once it returns from the Senate.”
The legislation appeared to collapse Sunday, when U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., said he would not support it, effectively preventing it from passing in the evenly divided Senate.
Murphy’s announcement Monday did not detail plans after she leaves Congress, though she said she will continue serving as chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party’s Democracy and Voter Protection Program.
She said in the announcement she is “incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together over these last five years.”
“I am most proud that through it all — whether the Democrats were in charge or the Republicans, whether under President Trump or President Biden — I was consistently named one of the most bipartisan and effective members of Congress,” Murphy said. “Because from day one, I have always put people over politics.”
Several Republicans have raised money to run for the District 7 seat, though the boundaries of the redrawn district could play a role in who vies for it next year. The Republican-controlled Legislature will redraw districts during the legislative session that will start Jan. 11.