Radio station owner to seek Franks' seat in U.S. House

Radio station owner Rick Murphy announced his candidacy for U.S.

Congress on Wednesday with a brief stopover at Kingman's Powerhouse Visitor's Center.

Murphy is challenging incumbent U.S.


Trent Franks for the Republican Party's nomination from District 2.

Murphy also made campaign stops in Peoria, Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City on Wednesday.

Franks, who was elected to his first term in 2002 in an open seat created by the retirement of longtime U.S.


Bob Stump, is seeking re-election this fall.

Murphy left no question about why he is challenging the first-term congressman, citing Franks' reneging on pledges he made during the 2002 election to not accept political action committee money and to oppose increased federal spending.

"We will oppose Trent Franks and oppose him vigorously … because he did not keep his word to the voters of Mohave County … Trent Franks promised not to take special interest PAC money … No member of Congress today has raised a bigger percentage of his campaign contributions from special interest PACs."

Murphy also criticized Franks for voting both ways on Medicare reform.

"First he voted no, then the House leadership and the special interests put on the pressure and he changed his vote to 'yes' to give them a razor-thin victory," Murphy said.

"Today, Trent proudly touts his high rankings with a few tax groups.

But voting for a fundamentally flawed and grotesquely expensive prescription drug bill without doing anything to reform Medicare, and without telling the voters how we're supposed to pay for this new and massive entitlement, is the same old cynical politics as usual," Murphy said.

"Voting for unfunded entitlements and palming the payment obligation off on future generations may keep Trent's ratings high with a few tax policy groups who believe the surest way to reduce the size of the federal government is to bankrupt it," Murphy said.

"But this bankrupt idea … is what makes red ink red and true fiscal conservatives bright red."

Murphy criticized Franks for "voting against funding for the Hoover Dam Bypass … and then telling a radio station in Mohave County that he worked hard for the funding but didn't want to hurt his reputation as a tax-cutter by actually voting for it."

Franks, who was voting on various budgetary items on Wednesday,


responded to Murphy's charges via cell phone from the House floor.

Franks said he pledged not to take PAC money during the 2002 campaign and he honored that pledge.

Due to changes in campaign finance laws, he said it is no longer feasible to run a campaign without taking PAC money.

This is because political parties can no longer directly help candidates financially, Franks said.

"It became the right thing to do.

With new campaign finance laws, it makes it almost impossible to run a viable campaign without doing what Rick Murphy's doing (i.e.

financing one's own campaign)."

On the Medicare reform bill, Franks said he voted against the bill on the House floor but later changed his vote because "it became clear that if it failed we would've had the Democrat bill, which was twice as expensive and (had) no market reforms."

Franks wasn't the only congressman to change his vote on the floor, and, due to the 215-210 margin of victory, it can be said he was a swing vote.

Franks says he is confidant the Senate bill would've passed and been signed into law by President Bush if the House bill had failed.

"We were strategically outmaneuvered by the Democrats in this situation," he said.

"It cost us a lot more than it should have."

On the issue of Hoover Dam bypass funding, Franks said he lobbied the (House) Transportation Committee hard in favor of funding for the bypass.

This resulted in Arizona and Nevada obtaining $7 million of the $10 million requested.

Franks said he voted against the omnibus appropriations bill on final vote because he knew it would pass and contained the Hoover Dam funding.

"It was my way of protesting fat and waste," he said, explaining his "no" vote.

Franks said a formal announcement of his re-election campaign will be forthcoming in the near future.

He said he has worked "very hard to represent my constituents and treated each as if they were members of my own family.

....That's something money can't buy," he said.

"I've kept my promises."

Murphy pledged he would not accept a congressional health insurance plan that is more generous than seniors receive under Medicare.

"We'll accept special-interest political contributions and a Congressman's health plan when it snows here in July," he said.

"We'll have staffed offices in Kingman, Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City…"

Murphy was born in his grandfather's house in Parker Dam and began a media company with a small radio station on a vacant lot in Parker.

"My father, Lyle, and brother David … helped me put up a broadcast tower that is still the tallest thing standing in Parker," he said.

"I was the sales department, the news department, the announcer and the complaint department."