Dick Murphy

Dick Murphy
Dick Murphy
33rd Mayor of San Diego
In office
December 4, 2000–July 15, 2005
Preceded by Susan Golding
Succeeded by Michael Zucchet (acting)
Personal details
Born December 16, 1942 (1942-12-16) (age 68)
Oak Park, Illinois
Nationality United States American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jan (?-present)
Children 3
Alma mater University of Illinois, Harvard University, Stanford University
Profession Judge

Richard M. (“Dick”) Murphy (born December 16, 1942) is a former U.S. politician. He served as the 33rd Mayor of San Diego, California from 2000 to 2005


Early life

Murphy was born 1942 in Oak Park, Illinois. He was the first Class President of Proviso West High School in its first graduating class in 1961. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Economics. He received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard University and his law degree from Stanford University.

Murphy served as an officer in the U.S. Army, in The Pentagon as a military aide to the Nixon administration. In the early 1970s he moved to San Diego, where he was Marketing Director for Bank of America, and as an attorney at the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps. In 1980, he was elected to the San Diego City Council, and served from 1981 through 1985. In 1985, he was appointed municipal court judge by Governor George Deukmejian. In 1989, the governor elevated him to superior court judge.


Murphy's mayoral term began in December 2000, and he was reelected in November 2004. His election was a long shot against Ron Roberts, who had the support of the business community. He campaigned on fixing the stalled construction of the downtown ballpark and to work to build a new airport. Murphy had previously served one term on the San Diego City Council representing the Seventh District. While elections for municipal offices in California are non-partisan, he is a registered Republican.

His re-election campaign saw controversy with a last minute write-in candidate, Donna Frye, a member of the San Diego City Council, who likely received more votes than either Murphy or Roberts. A number of voters did not follow the proper procedure for supporting a write-in candidate, either misspelling the name of Donna Frye (usually as "Donna Fry") or writing her name in the blank but neglecting to fill in the corresponding bubble to indicate their preference.[1]. After a legal imbroglio involving three (unsuccessful) lawsuits, these votes were ultimately not counted, resulting in Murphy winning the official tally by approximately 2,000 votes. At the time of the controversy, the League of Women Voters estimated that the number of votes disenfranchised ranged from 4,000 to 5,000. [1]

During Murphy's last term, the city faced serious fiscal problems from years of financial mismanagement by past city governments,[2], problems including an underfunded pension program and a series of credit-score downgrades. Murphy's last term also saw the opening of PETCO Park, The April 25, 2005 issue of Time Magazine listed him as one of the three worst big-city mayors in the United States. [3] The other two worst mayors are Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit and John F. Street of Philadelphia (not in order). Shortly after the article appeared, Murphy, on April 25, 2005, announced his plans to resign as Mayor and resigned July 15, 2005.[4]


I want to be mayor, but I don’t need to be mayor. I’m not a career politician (during 2000 campaign)[5]


  1. ^ Davis, Mike; Kelly Mayhew; and Jim Miller. "Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See." New York: New Press, 2005. p. 372-373
  2. ^ Broder, John M. (2004-09-07). "Sunny San Diego Finds Itself Being Viewed as a Kind of Enron-by-the-Sea". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/07/national/07diego.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, Terry (2005-04-25). "The 5 Best Big-City Mayors". Time magazine. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1050214,00.html. 
  4. ^ Dillon, Jeff (2005-04-25). "San Diego mayor announces departure less than 5 months into second term". San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20050425-0947-murphy.html. 
  5. ^ Donoho, Ron (2000-08). "The Game (Show) of Politics". San Diego Magazine. http://www.sandiegomag.com/issues/august00/politics2.shtml. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Susan Golding
Mayor of San Diego, California
Succeeded by
Michael Zucchet (acting)

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