Republican to Challenge Freshman Patrick Murphy #FL18

Murphy is a top GOP target this cycle, after winning his district narrowly in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Ellen Andel, the vice mayor pro tem for Juno Beach, announced Tuesday that she will challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in 2014.

"As a competitive runner, I'm not one to sit on the sidelines and watch, especially now as the debt and spending problems in our country are spiraling out of control," Andel said in a news release.

Murphy is a top GOP target this cycle after narrowly winning his south Florida seat in 2012. He defeated Republican Rep. Allen B. West by a margin so small that vote counting continued after Election Day.

But it's unlikely the race for Florida's 18th District will look anything like the 2012 brawl. A polarizing tea party figure, West was a lightning rod of a fundraiser — for himself and his opponent. West opted against a rematch and his absence will likely mitigate a fundraising arms race in 2014.

St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery is also weighing a Republican run.