In 2012, Patrick Murphy entered his first political race. After a brutal, expensive fight Murphy defeated tea party icon Allen West by less than 2,000 votes.
"The best way I can explain it to people is if you're in the middle of a sports game you don't really feel the hits," Murphy explained to CBS News. "You're in it, you're focused and you're just reacting, you're moving quick. You look back a month or a couple of weeks later and you say, 'Wow, that was a tough hit I took.'"
Murphy did not claim official victory in the South Florida congressional district until two weeks after the election took place - West wanted to be sure every vote was counted "accurately and fairly." In the end,by 0.6 percent, just a sliver over the 0.5 percent margin that would require a full recount under Florida law.
For now, the 30-year-old Murphy is currently the youngest member of Congress and he is learning how to navigate Washington.
"I am still in that honeymoon period," he said.
But Murphy isn't afraid to call out his colleagues. "A lot of members up here are very selfish. I will sit down with a member and talk with him about an issue and they'll agree with me. And then they come back a day or two later and say well, Patrick, you know, I agree with you but if I do that you know I'm going to get primaried or I'll probably lose my next election, so I'm not willing to do it," Murphy said.
Murphy grew up as a Republican adding that his family always voted for "the candidate, not the party." But a few years ago he changed parties, in large part because he disagreed with the tea party faction of the GOP. As a certified public accountant - one of 10 in Congress - Murphy supported the tea party's focus on fiscal responsibility. Murphy thinks his prior Republican affiliation will help him as he navigates Capitol Hill.
"A lot of my Republican friends here, whether they're freshman or whether they have been here for 10 years, all somehow figure out that I used to be a Republican and someone that they could probably work with on whatever particular issues," Murphy said.
After being outspent by about 4-1 last year and facing a tough re-election fight next year, fundraising for 2014 consumes a lot of his time.
"Too many, if I have done one it is too many," Murphy said of the number of fundraisers he's attended, shaking his head.
He said he's trying to change the system, introducing three campaign finance reform bills that have gone nowhere - no surprise for a Democrat in the Republican-led House.
But Murphy said is taking his job one issue at a time and pointed out his high school football helmet he keeps in his office.
"My mom thought it would be appropriate in my office here. I guess because politics is a full-contact sport."
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