Patrick J. Murphy (Pennsylvania)

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Patrick Murphy
Patrick J. Murphy.jpg
Former Attorney General Candidate
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Bachelor'sKing’s College in Wilkes-Barre
J.D.Widener University School of Law
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Army
ProfessionPartner at Fox Rothschild LLP
Personal website
Campaign website
Patrick J. Murphy was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 8th District. He recently made an unsuccessful bid for Attorney General of Pennsylvania in the 2012 election.

Murphy, an officer in the U.S. Army, is a practicing attorney and teacher of law.[1]


Murphy grew up in Northeast Philadelphia, where his father, a Navy vet, served as a police officer for 22 years. While at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Murphy displayed an inclination toward service, which he reportedly inherited from his father, by enrolling in the Army ROTC program. He was later commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army. After earning his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, where he provided free legal aid working at the Civil Law Clinic, Murphy taught Constitutional Law and Military Law at West Point as an assistant professor in the Academy's Law Department.[1]

Murphy volunteered for combat after September 11, 2001. Following a stint in Bosnia, Murphy was deployed to Iraq in 2003 as a paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Patrick was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Baghdad, where he prosecuted two winning cases against suspected terrorists for the Central Criminal Court.

Murphy is currently a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP in Philadelphia and still teaches at Widener Law. He was appointed by the President to the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy at West Point. His legal experience prior to entering politics also included work as a Judge Advocate and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.[1]


  • Bachelor's degree, King's College in Wilkes-Barre
  • J.D., Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg

Political Career

2012 Attorney General Election

Murphy made an unsuccessful bid for Pennsylvania attorney general in 2012. Initially the favorite to win the Democratic nomination in the April 24, 2012 primary, he was ultimately overtaken by Lackawanna prosecutor Kathleen Kane. Despite the expensive mudslinging that took shape during the final weeks of the primary campaign season between the two Democrats, Murphy proceeded to offer Kane his support in the general election against Republican nominee David Freed. He announced the endorsement on May 15, and acknowledged the competitive nature of the contest which led him to that point. He called the race "a family fight" and urged Democrats to rally behind Kane in the general election.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives (2006-2010)

Murphy is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. He represented Pennsylvania's 8th District. Murphy made a name for himself by championing the repeal efforts of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the House. He lost his bid for re-election to the very man he unseated in 2006, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, in 2010.[3]



See also: Pennsylvania attorney general election, 2012

Murphy was a Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Pennsylvania in the 2012 election. He was narrowly defeated by Kathleen Granahan Kane in the April 24th Democratic primary.

Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngKathleen Kane 52.8% 371,862
Patrick Murphy 47.2% 331,778
Total Votes 703,640
Election Results via Pennsylvania Department of State (accessed April 25, 2012).


  • Photo ID Bill

Concurring with his Democratic counterparts, Murphy told the Associated Press on March 9, 2012 that he was opposed to Pennsylvania's intensified voter identification legislation on the grounds that it infringes on the rights of elderly, poor, and minority voters, who are most unlikely to possess photo identification. Purportedly to curb voter-fraud, the photo-ID bill has already adopted by 15 states according to the National State Conference of Legislatures.[4] Calling it a "blatant attempt by those in power to maintain their power," Murphy says that as AG he would uphold the law no matter, but still intends to support others' efforts to get the bill overturned in the courts.[5]

  • Ultrasound Bill

Although the mandatory ultrasound proposal was stalled in the House during election season, the issue was food for debate for the 2012 attorney general candidates. Murphy made the bill a focus of his campaign, calling it “blatantly unconstitutional,”[6] and prompted both his primary opponent Kathleen Kane and Republican candidate David Freed, to engage in the discussion. Implying that Kane was not taking a strong enough stance on the bill by merely vocalizing her opposition, Murphy told the press two weeks before the April 24 primary election that an AG would have to go beyond soft-talk concerning something as critical as the mandatory ultrasound bill. If elected, he pledged not to enforce the bill, and to "fight it every step of the way.”[6]

  • Crime

Murphy cited cracking down on child sex-abuse as one of his chief priorities. While serving in Congress, he helped pass a law to curb internet sex predation; Now he is encouraging Pennsylvania to adopt his proposals for improving information sharing among law enforcement jurisdictions to promote knowledge about the locations and residences of sex-abusers. Murphy said he would build up the Child Predator Unit and the specialized police units that target child sex predators.[7]

  • Environment

Pennsylvania has become an epicenter for environmental controversy since the discovery of the state's natural gas supply in Marcellus Shale. The extraction process, commonly known as fracking, carries high reward in terms of boosting the state's economy, hence Gov. Corbett's eager invitation to gas companies to set up shop where they see fit. But it also carries high risk. There have been reports of fracking chemicals contaminating the groundwater in certain regions and poisoning residents. Murphy vowed to protect Pennsylvanians from polluters who "will no longer get a slap on the wrist when I’m Attorney General – I will hold them accountable."[7]


  • President Obama's political strategist David Axelrod
  • The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
  • Emily's List
  • Philadelphia Democratic Committee
  • Philadelphia Democratic Committee chairman Rep. Bob Brady
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
  • District Attorney Seth Williams [8]
  • Pennsylvania Young Democrats
  • Bucks County Democratic Committee[9]
  • Council 13 AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees[10]
  • EqualityPA
  • Liberty City Democratic Club
  • Capital Area Stonewall Democrats[11]
  • The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations[12]


Murphy received more than $700,000 from beyond Pennsylvania's borders for his re-election campaign. Murphy faced Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, a former congressman whom Murphy unseated in 2006.[13]

On November 2, 2010, Fitzpatrick won election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Patrick J. Murphy in the general election.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania Congressional District 8 Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMichael G. Fitzpatrick 53.5% 130,759
     Democratic Patrick J. Murphy Incumbent 46.5% 113,547
Total Votes 244,306


Patrick lives in Bristol, Pennsylvania with his wife Jenni, his daughter Maggie, his son Jack and their dog Chloe.



Mailing Address:
PO Box 2020
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Office Phone: (215) 383-0230


See also

External links

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