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Headshot of Amanda Murphy (D)
Amanda Murphy
On Tuesday night, Democrats scored a big win in central Florida, picking up a GOP-held seat in a special election for the state House. Democrat Amanda Murphy scored a narrow 51-49 win over Republican Bill Gunter in the 36th House District, even though she was heavily outraised. What's more, the state Republican Party spent over $250,000 to hold this seat (far more than the Dems did), but couldn't keep it in their column.

Murphy benefitted from an unusual cross-party endorsement from Republican ex-Rep. Mike Fasano, whose appointment to a county-wide post prompted this special election in the first place, and who was furious at a misleading attempt by Gunter allies to make it seem as though he'd endorsed him. This was also the first partisan election in the country following the federal government shutdown; while it's not certain whether that played a role, it couldn't have helped Republicans.

Democrats are now up to 45 seats in the House, though they remain in a big hole, with the GOP still controlling 75. But another positive sign for Democrats is that Barack Obama carried this seat 52-47 last year, so despite running in an October special in an odd-numbered year, Murphy was barely off the president's pace. It'll be a long slog back to the majority, but Murphy gives her party a good place to start.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 09:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida and Daily Kos.

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