Military Wiki
Patrick Murphy
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Mike Fitzpatrick
Succeeded by Mike Fitzpatrick
Personal details
Born October 19, 1973(1973-10-19) (age 49)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jennifer Safford Murphy
Residence Bristol, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Kings College (B.A.)
Widener University (J.D.)
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Military service
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1996–2004
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit 82 Airborne Patch.svg 82nd Airborne Division
United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star

Patrick Joseph Murphy (born October 19, 1973) is a former politician from Pennsylvania. He was the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district from 2007 to 2011. He lost re-election in 2010. He then ran for state Attorney General in 2012, but lost in the Democratic Primary.[2]

Early life, education and career

Murphy was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the Northeast Philadelphia area, the son of a Philadelphia police officer and a legal secretary.[3] As a high school student, Murphy worked weekends as a security guard in the infamous 700 Level|"700 Level" of Veterans Stadium during Philadelphia Eagles and Temple University football games.

Murphy graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia. He attended Bucks County Community College before enrolling at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he was captain of the hockey team, Student Government President and a member of the Sigma Kappa Sigma fraternity. Murphy was also a cadet in the U.S. Army ROTC at the neighboring University of Scranton, graduating from Scranton's Royal Warriors Battalion in 1996.[4] After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from King's College in 1996, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. In lieu of going directly into the active duty Army with a Reserve commission, he remained in the inactive Army Reserve while attending law school and while working part-time as a legislative aide to a member of the Pennsylvania state legislature.[5]

Murphy attended law school at the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, earning a J.D. in 1999. He became a member of the Trial Advocacy Honor Society and president of the St. Thomas More Society while at Widener. 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 while concurrently serving as a drilling JAG officer in the Army Reserve. 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. After returning from active duty, Murphy joined Fox Rothschild, a large U.S. law firm based in Philadelphia.

Military career

CPT Patrick Murphy in 2003.

In 2000, Murphy 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.[5] 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 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. A graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, dual Qualified as a Basic Parachutist and in Air Assault, Murphy was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.[6] Following his service in Iraq, he returned to Fort Bragg and continued his service as a JAG officer before being released from active duty in 2004.

Political campaigns

Then Congressman Murphy walking in the 2007 Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Parade

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.[7]

On May 16, 2006, he won the Democratic primary with about 65% of the vote,[8] against Andrew Warren, a former county commissioner and ex-Republican who badly trailed Murphy in campaign funds.[9]

Polls taken in October, 2006, generally showed a tight race between Murphy and Fitzpatrick. On election day, Murphy's campaign, led by campaign manager Scott Fairchild and GOTV Director Brent Welder, engaged in a massive get-out-the-vote effort with over 2000 volunteers knocking on 160,000 doors.[10] 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).[11][12] Overall, he received 50.3% of the vote. Murphy was helped by a large national Democratic "wave" that swept 31 new Democrats into Congress, enabling the Democrats to win control of the U.S. House for the first time since 1994.[13]

2008 election

Murphy faced Republican Tom Manion, a retired 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.[citation needed] Murphy is an Iraq War veteran and a strong critic of Bush's war strategy. Manion, whose son (1st Lt Travis Manion, USMC) was killed in Iraq in April 2007, supports the Iraq War Surge.

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).

During the campaign, Murphy received support from many nationally known figures including George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, and Ben Affleck.[14]

2010 election

Murphy was defeated by Republican nominee and former U.S. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, whom Murphy had previously defeated in 2006. Murphy lost to Fitzpatrick by 7 points as part of the Tea Party Wave that knocked 64 Democrats out of office.

2012 election of Pennsylvania Attorney General

On April 20, 2011, Murphy announced his candidacy for Attorney General of Pennsylvania. His announcement was accompanied by over thirty endorsements from prominent elected officials and organizations across the state.

On January 14, 2012, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee met in State College to determine its statewide endorsements for the 2012 primary season. No candidate got the two-thirds majority necessary to be endorsed by the state party, but Murphy led on both ballots, winning 161 votes (50.6 percent) on the first ballot and 191 votes (60.4 percent) on the second ballot. [15] The political website PoliticsPA reported that "Murphy’s strong performance can be credited to years of ground work and party building; many members spoke of times that he had visited their counties and supported their local party." Murphy was nominated by Montgomery County chairman Marcel Groen.

On April 24, 2012, Murphy was defeated 53-47 by Kathleen Kane in the primary election for Pennsylvania Attorney General. He did well in the Philadelphia area but lost the Southwestern part of the state.

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.

Then Congressman Murphy with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

During his time in Congress, Murphy served on the House Armed Services Committee and was on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; he later became a member of the Appropriations Committee.[16] Murphy was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate to conservative Democratic representatives. In 2008, he was not only one of the first members of Congress to support then Senator Obama; he was the first to actually campaign for him.

Murphy opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 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 bipartisan majority of Republicans and Democrats as well as 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 team's victory in Super Bowl XLII. “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."[17]

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.[18]

In July 2009, Murphy became the lead advocate for a bill that would repeal the Defense Department's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy concerning open gays in the armed forces.[19]

In April 2010, the IMPROVE act (Improving Medicare Policy for Reimbursements through Oversight and Efficiency) was signed into law. Murphy authored the bi-partisan bill to help eliminate fraud in the health care system and protect taxpayer dollars. The IMPROVE act was endorsed by the AARP, the National District Attorneys Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the American Bankers Association [20]

In May 2010, the Officer Daniel Faulkner Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act of 2010 passed the house. Congressman Patrick Murphy sponsored the bill which would assist children whose parent or guardian died as a result of performing service as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew.[21]

Voting record


Murphy supports the right to abortion, with a 100 percent rating from NARAL and "supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 100 percent in 2008."[22]

Consumer protection

Murphy authored the Student Credit Card Transparency Act of 2009 which protected students from being taken advantage of by credit card companies. The bill accomplished this goal by requiring universities and credit card companies to disclose contracts for student credit cards.[23]

Murphy garnered significant praise for his support of the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the face of significant special interest opposition.[24]

Murphy's office worked with the Internal Revenue Service to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Murphy received national praise for his efforts on behalf of Madoff's victims.[25]

Don't Ask Don't Tell

Murphy stands behind President Barack Obama as his signs the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell

Patrick Murphy was a leader in the effort to repeal the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy that removed 13,000 service members from the American military for their sexual orientation.[26] Murphy worked tirelessly to convince fellow moderate Democrats to support the issue despite the political risk involved.[27] He introduced a bill in the House to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell on December 14, 2010.[28] The bill was approved in a strong bipartisan vote of 250–175 in the House, with the support of 15 House Republicans including Murphy's home-state colleagues Todd Russell Platts and Charlie Dent.[29] Ultimately eight Republicans joined with 57 Democrats to approve the bill in the Senate and send it to the President's desk for signature.[30]


Murphy voted for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[31]

Fiscal responsibility

In July 2010, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act was signed into law by President Obama. Congressman Murphy introduced the original bill in 2007, and partnered with Democrats and Republicans alike to get the bill passed. The bill enacted stricter standards among federal agencies to identify improper payments and recover taxpayer dollars that were misspent. By holding government agencies accountable, the law helped eliminate a significant portion of the $98 billion in wasteful government spending each year. The IPERA has cut Medicare errors in half, and has led to the recovery of over $2 billion in overpayments to contractors per year. In total, Murphy's bill has saved taxpayers over $17 billion so far. The OMB projects that the IPERA will save $50 billion over five years.[32]

Gun rights

Murphy has a permit to carry concealed firearms[33] and considers that the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, but with a need for regulation. In 2007 Murphy co-sponsored legislation that would re-authorize a Federal ban on assault weapons.[34] The following year he signed onto H.R. 861, a bill to establish national concealed-carry reciprocity.[35] Also in 2008, Murphy was an original co-sponsor of legislation that would repeal the District of Columbia's ban on semi-automatic weapons and mandatory handgun registration.[36]

Health care

Murphy voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act on November 7, 2009.[37]

Murphy authored the IMPROVE act (Improving Medicare Policy for Reimbursements through Oversight and Efficiency) to help eliminate fraud in the health care system and protect taxpayer dollars. The bill was signed into law in 2010.[20] He co-authored the bill with a fellow Army JAG, conservative Congressman Tom Rooney; the two remain close friends.[38]

Law Enforcement

Murphy sponsored the Officer Daniel Faulkner Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act of 2010 passed the house. Congressman Patrick Murphy sponsored the bill which would assist children whose parent or guardian died as a result of performing service as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew.

Murphy voted to keep 150,000 police officers and firefighters on the job after their funding was threatened in 2010. In response to this vote, the President of the Philadelphia-area Fraternal Order of Police said: "“It’s thanks to Patrick Murphy and this measure that Pennsylvania cops can stay on the job, working to keep families safe" [39]

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch
  • Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
    • Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence
    • Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Post-Congress career

After being defeated for re-election in November, 2010, Murphy became a partner at Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild in the litigation department[40] and an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law.[41]

On April 26, 2011, Patrick Murphy was awarded the John F. Kennedy Jr. Award from the Brown University Democrats.[42]

In June 2011, President Obama appointed Murphy to the United States Military Academy's Board of Visitors.[43]

On March 20, 2013, Murphy made his first official appearance as an MSNBC contributor on The Rachel Maddow Show. Murphy serves as an expert on American politics, international affairs and military issues.[44]

Personal life

Murphy 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 lives in the Edgely section of Bristol Township, Pennsylvania.

In 2010, Murphy was given the Fenn Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library's New Frontier Award Committee. The award is presented to a distinguished young elected official in honor of Dan Fenn, the Kennedy Library's first director and a former member of President Kennedy's staff.


Murphy currently serves as a contributor for MSNBC.[45]

Ben Affleck has credited Murphy for being a major inspiration for his character Stephen Collins in the 2009 movie State of Play.[46]

Murphy authored an autobiography entitled "Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress." Henry Holt and Co. (February 19, 2008), ISBN 978-0-8050-8695-9


  1. [1].
  2. Jackson, Peter (2012-04-14). "Murphy-Kane race for AG a study in contrasts". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  3. Murphy's background and upbringing
  4. "Army ROTC: The University of Scranton Royal Warrior Battalion History". Army ROTC: The University of Scranton. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  5. 5.0 5.1
  6. m06_bronze-star-info Bronze Star awardee
  7. Murphy06 site
  8. 2006 PA primary election returns
  9. Dem. Primary win
  10. Murphy proud of his pounding of pavement The political newcomer attributes his win in the Eighth Congressional District to well-worn shoes.
  11. 2006 election returns
  12. 2006 election returns
  13. United States elections, 2006#United States House of Representatives
  15. "Pennsylvania Democrats Hold Winter Meeting, Statewide Endorsement Meeting," Pennsylvania Democratic Party Press Release [2]
  16. Pelosi Announces Committee Memberships
  17. Vote against congratulating the NY Giants
  18. List of House and Senate Centrists, 2007
  19. "Veterans Call Out Obama On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". NPR. 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  20. 20.0 20.1
  22. "Project Vote Smart - Representative Patrick J. Murphy - Interest Group Ratings". Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  26. Joseph, Michael. "Straight Guys Tell | Politics". Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  27. Capehart, Jonathan. "The 2010 Elections and Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  28. Sargent, Greg. "Breaking: House Dems will introduce stand alone DADT repeal bill | Politics". Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  29. O'Keefe, Ed. "House Votes to Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Politics". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  30. O'Keefe, Ed (December 19, 2010). "'Don't ask, don't tell' is repealed by Senate; bill awaits Obama's signing | Politics". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  31. "Roll call vote on economic stimulus |". 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  33. Snowflakes in Hell blog
  34. - H.R. 1022
  35. Thomas - H.R. 861
  36. THOMAS - H.R. 6691
  37. "News Details". Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  40. Fox Rothschild (2011). Former U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Murphy Joins Fox Rothschild LLP. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  41. Widener Law (2011). Patrick J. Murphy, Esquire. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  42. Events at Brown: "JFK Jr. Lecture with Congressman Patrick Murphy," April 26, 2011
  43. Wall Street Journal: "Ex-Pa. US rep Murphy named to West Point board," June 28, 2011, accessed June 29, 2011

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 - 2011
Succeeded by
Mike Fitzpatrick

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