Will Environmental Issues Tip Florida Democratic Race To Patrick Murphy?

In Florida’s 22nd congressional district, citizens are gathering in growing opposition to the re-election of incumbent Allen West. They’re concerned with Congressman West’s displays of unstable behavior – most recently, his outburst declaring that Barack Obama should “get the Hell out of America”.

Who will oppose Allen West in the general election this November remains an open question. There are no third party candidates in the district, but there are two Democrats competing for their party’s nomination. One of the most significant differences between these candidates is their stance on environmental issues.

Lois Frankel doesn’t take a stance on environmental issues. There’s no indication that she is particularly opposed to environmental protections, but Frankel has not spoken on the subject in her campaign.

Patrick Erin Murphy, on the other hand, has made the environment a central part of his candidacy. Murphy has firsthand experience with environmental protection, as Vice President with Coastal Environmental Services, a Florida company that helped clean up the massive amounts of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform exploded and sank into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The conclusion to the Democratic primary in the 22nd congressional district will be primarily a test of the organizational muscle summoned by Frankel and Murphy. However, the election should also serve as an indication of the degree to which environmental issues can persuade voters in Florida.

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