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Also see Patrick Murphy (disambiguation).
Patrick Murphy

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Mike Fitzpatrick

Born October 19, 1973 (1973-10-19) (age 36)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jennifer Safford Murphy
Residence Bristol, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Bucks County Community College
Kings College
Widener University
Occupation attorney
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1996–2004
Rank Captain
Unit 82nd Airborne Division
JAG Corps
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star

Patrick Joseph Murphy (born October 19, 1973) is the Congressman from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district, an American lawyer, and a former U.S. Army soldier. Murphy is the first veteran of the Iraq War to serve in Congress. During the 110th Congress (2007–2009), Murphy was the only Iraq War veteran in Congress, and is now one of four members to have served in Iraq; the others are Democrat John Boccieri of Ohio and Republicans Mike Coffman of Colorado and Duncan D. Hunter of California. Murphy was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. At 36 years old, he is also one of the youngest members of Congress.

Murphy, a Democrat, narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick, a freshman Republican, in the 2006 election for Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district.


Early life and education

Murphy was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the Northeast Philadelphia area, the son of a Philadelphia police officer and a legal secretary.[2] As a high school student, Murphy worked weekends as a security guard in the infamous "700 Level" of Veterans Stadium during Philadelphia Eagles and Temple University football games.

Murphy graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia. After attending Bucks County Community College, he went to King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he was a cadet in the U.S. Army ROTC and was captain of the hockey team and student body president. After graduating in 1996 with a double major, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and later was assigned to West Point as a professor.

Military and legal career

CPT Patrick Murphy in 2003.

Murphy attended law school at the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, where he became a member of the Trial Advocacy Honor Society and president of the St. Thomas More Society. He then began working in the office of the district attorney of Philadelphia, and later as a leader in the Harrisburg Civil Law Clinic, a legal aid society serving the poor. He also served as the legislative aide to Thomas Tangretti, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Westmoreland County. Murphy has taught American politics and government at Mount Saint Mary's University. In 2000, he went on active duty in the Army, joining the military faculty at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he taught constitutional law. He has also lectured at the U.S. Air Force Academy, the International Institute for Humanitarian Rights in Sanremo, Italy, and at Widener. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Murphy volunteered for overseas deployment, serving in Bosnia (2002) and in Baghdad during the Iraq War (2003–2004). While in Baghdad as a paratrooper and JAG Corps attorney with the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, Murphy worked to reconstruct the justice system and helped prosecute Sheik Moyad, a lieutenant of Muqtada al-Sadr.[3] Murphy was awarded the Bronze Star for his seven months of service in Iraq.[4]

Family and personal life

Murphy returned to Pennsylvania after his tour in Iraq, and married Jennifer Safford on June 17, 2006. Their first child, a daughter, was born shortly after his Congressional victory. Their second child, a son, was born on November 2, 2009. The family now lives in the Edgely section of Bristol Township, Pennsylvania.


In 2008, Congressman Murphy published an autobiography with Adam Frankel, Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress.

Political Positions



Murphy has a 100 percent rating from NARAL and "supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 100 percent in 2008."[5]


Murphy voted for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[6]

Gun rights

Murphy has a D+ rating from the NRA.[7] In 2007, Murphy co-sponsored legislation that would re-authorize a Federal ban on semi-automatic firearms.[8] In 2008, he was an original co-sponsor of legislation that would repeal the District of Columbia's ban on semi-automatic weapons and mandatory handgun registration.[9]

Don't Ask Don't Tell

Patrick Murphy opposes the military's "Don't ask, Don't Tell" policy of excusing service members from the American military because of their sexual orientation.[10]

Health Care

Murphy voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act on November 7, 2009.[11]

U.S. House of Representatives

Murphy introduces military veteran candidates for Congress during the third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Murphy serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.[12] Murphy is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate to conservative Democratic representatives.

Murphy opposed the Surge in 2007. He was a cosponsor, with Senator Barack Obama and Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), of the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which aimed to develop a plan to redeploy American troops out of Iraq starting May 1, 2007; a majority of Republicans as well as Democrats and President George W. Bush opposed the measure, and it did not pass.

On February 13, 2008 he was the only member of the House to vote against a resolution congratulating the New York Giants for the Super Bowl victory. “As a former 700-level security guard and lifelong Eagles fan, I couldn’t, in good conscience, vote for the New York Giants”, Murphy later stated. “The only thing worse would have been a resolution honoring the Dallas Cowboys."[13]

In the 2007 congressional vote rankings by the non-partisan National Journal, Murphy scored a 56.5 liberal rating and a 43.5 conservative rating, which is considered "centrist" in the Journal's rankings.[14]

In July 2009, Murphy became the lead advocate for a that would repeal the Defense Department's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy concerning gays in the armed forces.[15]

Committee assignments

2006 election

In 2005, Murphy decided to challenge Republican incumbent Representative Mike Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district as a Fighting Dem, building his campaign around "Murphy Plans" for Iraq, ethics reform, online protection, and a GI Bill of Rights.[16]

On May 16, 2006, he won the Democratic primary with about 65% of the vote,[17] against Andrew Warren, a former county commissioner and ex-Republican who badly trailed Murphy in campaign funds.[18]

Polls taken in October, 2006, generally showed a tight race between Murphy and Fitzpatrick: A poll by Grove Insight (a Democratic polling firm) showed Murphy leading 44% to 40%, a mid-October poll by Global Strategies Group (another Democratic polling firm) showed Murphy leading 45% to 43%, a late October poll by Global Strategies Group showed Murphy leading 46% to 41%, a poll by Constituent Dynamics showed Murphy leading 50% to 47%, and a poll by Muhlenberg College showed Murphy trailing 47% to 42%.[19] A sixth poll, by Franklin & Marshall College Poll, showed Murphy trailing 48% to 39%, but was flawed by the inadvertent inclusion of a third candidate who was not on the ballot.[20]

On election day, Murphy's campaign, led by campaign manager Scott Fairchild, engaged in a massive get-out-the-vote effort, with over 2000 volunteers knocking on 160,000 doors. [12] The resulting high turnout in Democratic lower Bucks County and Philadelphia, combined with surprisingly strong returns for Murphy in Republican upper Bucks County, was enough to push Murphy over Fitzpatrick 125,656 to 124,138. Murphy narrowly lost the Bucks County portion of the district (116,669 to 115,645), but decisively won the Philadelphia County portion (6,024 to 5,048) and the Montgomery County portion (3,987 to 2,421).[21][22]

2008 election

Murphy faced Republican Tom Manion, a former Marine Corps Reserve Colonel and executive at Johnson & Johnson, as well as independent Tom Lingenfelter. Significant national attention was drawn to the race because of both candidates' connections to the Iraq War. Murphy is an Iraq War veteran and a strong critic of Bush's war strategy. Manion, whose son (1stLt Travis Manion) was killed in Iraq in April 2007, supports Bush's strategy.

Congressman Murphy won election to a second term with 57 percent of the vote. Murphy won re-election to a second term by increasing his margin in Democratic Lower Bucks County while at the same time winning many rural townships in Upper Bucks and keeping his margin down in Central Bucks (his opponents' home territory).

2010 election

Murphy has four announced Republican opponents for the 2010 election cycle so far: attorney Judith Algeo, attorney Dean Malik, small business owner Robert Mitchell, and businessman Jeffrey Schott.[23]

Electoral history

Murphy defeated incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick in the 2006 midterm election, receiving 50.3% of the vote. Murphy won re-election in 2008, defeating Tom Manion (R) and Tom Lingenfelter (I) with 57% of the vote

See also


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Fitzpatrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

2007 – present


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