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A Republican who’s not afraid of Limbaugh

A Republican who’s not afraid of Limbaugh

Larry Murphy has strong feelings about Rush Limbaugh.

“Rush Limbaugh is a racist, he’s a cancer to the Republican Party and he should be excised,” Murphy said recently.

Those aren’t unusual sentiments. But what is unusual is hearing them from a Republican candidate for office. Republicans far and wide have been prostrating themselves before Limbaugh in recent months, who has been effective at leveraging his massive conservative audience into allegiance from elected officials in the party. But Murphy, an underdog Republican candidate for Senate, says Limbaugh can’t be the voice of the party.

“My opponents are afraid to say that,” Murphy, told pa2010.com recently.

He’s got a point. Incumbent Senator Arlen Specter, working hard to court the party’s conservative base ahead of a grueling primary next year, recently said of Limbaugh: “I like him.”

Murphy, by far the least known of the four Republican Senate candidates, has such a low profile that it’s unlikely he’ll get caught up in the apologize-to-Rush game that has snagged his more prominent colleagues in recent months. But he’s also clearly hoping his stance against Limbaugh will bolster his credentials as a more independent Republican.

“People like Rush and [radio host] Laura Ingraham, they’re really destroying our party, and we need to wake up and see that,” Murphy said, adding that his would be a “different kind of Republican candidacy.”

“It’s not going to mean-hearted, it’s not going to be sound bites,” he said.

Former Congressman Pat Toomey and conservative activist Peg Luksik are also running against Specter in next year’s primary.

Republican Senate candidate Larry Murphy

Republican Senate candidate Larry Murphy

April 23, 2009 at 10:02 am

--Dan Hirschhorn

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