ATLANTA (AP) — Former House Speaker Tom Murphy, a power broker on the Georgia political scene for more than two decades, is said to be in very serious condition and could be near death.
Murphy, a west Georgia Democrat, was the longest serving speaker of the House in the nation when he was defeated in 2002. That election turned out to be the beginning of the Republican onslaught in the state. Two years later the House Murphy had ruled with an iron fist came under Republican control.
State Rep. Terry Coleman, who briefly succeeded Murphy as speaker, said Monday that he had talked with Murphy’s family and that his health was failing fast.
‘I think it is very serious,’’ Coleman said. ‘‘This is the worst they (his family) have seen him.’’
Murphy, now 83, suffered a stroke in 2004 soon after leaving the state Capitol. The once garrulous politician has struggled to speak since then.
A lawyer from Bremen, Murphy was first elected to the House in 1960 and outlasted four governors He rose to become speaker in 1974.
I'll link things as I see them, but would expect the most interesting stories about Murphy's life and political tenure to end up here throughout the day.