Alan Grayson Archives - Page 4 of 53 - Florida Politics

Patrick Murphy to debate Marco Rubio two times before Nov 8 election

Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio announced Monday they would debate three times and participate in a separate campaign forum, bringing an end to speculation Murphy was reluctant to engage in debates with the GOP Senate incumbent. However, there’s still a dispute about how many events they will actually have, because Rubio says two of the events have ties to Murphy supporters.

The first debate will be held in Orlando on October 17, and is sponsored by POLITICO, ABC affiliate WFTV, and Cox Media, and will be broadcast statewide on ABC affiliate stations. That’s still one.

The next debate will the Leadership Florida and Florida Press Association at Broward College in Davie on Oct. 26, also broadcast on ABC affiliates (that debate had previously been announced).

The candidates’ third scheduled debate is in question: that’s the event co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Telemundo and broadcast on Telemundo stations from Tampa. That, along with a separate forum at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, may not happen, because the Rubio camp says they’re affiliated with Murphy supporters.

Nevertheless, the news will undoubtedly please statewide Democrats who weren’t enthused about the perception that Murphy was not eager to debate Rubio, who he trails in virtually every poll published on the U.S. Senate race in Florida.

“I’m excited to debate Marco Rubio and talk about the issues that matter most to Florida families,” said Murphy. “Floridians face an important choice this November, between someone who will show up and work hard for them, and Marco Rubio, who abandoned our state and has the worst vote attendance record of any Florida Senator in nearly 50 years. I look forward to making that choice clear in our upcoming debates.”

The day after the Florida Primary on Aug. 31, Rubio immediately challenged Murphy to six debates. Murphy initially called it a “stunt,” and said he’s only do so if Rubio committed to serving a full six-year term (something that Rubio has not done). Rubio brought the issue back up on Monday.

“As he’s done in every election he’s been a part of — Patrick Murphy is ducking debates yet again. I did six debates six years ago. Why only do half now? ” Rubio said in a statement. “Floridians today deserve no less than what they received in 2010, and they deserve to know where we stand on the important issues facing our country. I will ask Patrick, once again, to join me in committing to six media-sponsored debates between now and Election Day.”

Murphy did not debate his challengers — Alan Grayson and Pam Keith — in the Senate Democratic Primary.

David Jolly accuses Charlie Crist of lying about his stance on student debt

For the second time in a little over a week, the David Jolly campaign is accusing Charlie Crist of lying about Jolly’s record.

At issue on Thursday was a tweet by Crist, in which he said Jolly opposed the refinancing of student debt.

Not true, countered the Jolly campaign. They responded by providing a link to a videotape of Jolly’s debate against Alan Grayson April 25, where he said, “There are some simple things we can do right now by allowing student loans to be refinanced, by making them eligible for reorganization in bankruptcy cases — those are two initiatives I have supported …”

Jolly added he would also like to create additional flexibility for accelerating and expanding Pell Grants, and would also like to tie the performance of longterm student loans to what the universities receive in federal funding.

Jolly is also one of just two Republican co-sponsors on a bill (H.R. 449) that would make student loan debt eligible for reorganization in bankruptcy and other relief provisions. Congresswoman Kathy Castor is a co-sponsor of the same bill.

Jolly does not support the “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act” (SB 2432) first introduced in the Senate by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2014. The bill has more than 170 co-sponsors, including Castor.

“Then why hasn’t he co-sponsored the bill?” Crist spokesman Kevin Cate responded. “Actions speak louder than words.” The Crist camp also says they’d like to know any other examples in which Jolly has come out in support of refinancing student debt.

According to the Jolly campaign, this is Crist’s second misstatement, or lie, of the campaign. On Election Night last week, Crist said Jolly was supporting Donald Trump‘s agenda. The Jolly camp took offense to that, saying the GOP congressman has not endorsed Trump for president.

The Crist campaign responds their candidate never said Jolly had endorsed Trump, but that he supported Trump’s agenda.

“This Republican primary season has been pretty frightening,” Crist said in that statement. “It saddens me to think that anyone who supports Donald Trump’s agenda could ever represent Pinellas County. And I look forward to sharing our vision for seniors, veterans, women, students, and our environment in the weeks ahead.”

 

Bill Rufty: Polk becoming a two-Party county?

Polk County will likely never return to the Democratic bastion that was home to four U.S. senators, three governors, and four presidents of the Florida Senate.

But from Tuesday’s primaries and the fielding of candidates for the Nov. 8 general elections, Polk Democrats are slowly learning to make the now-GOP bastion a two-party county again.

There was a big Democratic Primary in eastern Polk County for Florida’s 9th Congressional District, but not one of the four candidates were from Polk.

However, for the first time in a decade, there was a Democratic Primary for Florida House District 41, which is fully contained within the county’s borders.

As the I-4 corridor begins to turn Democratic in performance, eastern Polk County appears to be following the trend. But the western side, which includes Lakeland, Bartow and Mulberry, is still the Republican stronghold it has been since 1996.

The highest level race in the county and much of Central Florida was a congressional race where a Democrat is almost certain to win a general election run after court-ordered redistricting.

State Sen. Darren Soto’s win over former Alan Grayson aide Susannah Randolph, Grayson’s wife Dr. Dena Grayson, and former Osceola County Democratic Party Chair Valleri Crabtree can be credited to the significant margin in Osceola County, a Democratic stronghold among the three counties making up the district. He barely won the Orange County section and came in third in the Polk County section of his district.

Democrats in Polk County are hoping to win a Florida House seat in Polk County for the first time since 1998.

Former Circuit Court Judge Bob Doyel handily won the Democratic Party’s nomination over Nicholas Garcia in the primary and now faces former contractor and Republican fundraiser Sam Killebrew, a formidable Republican activist.

Killebrew won the GOP nod by a narrow margin over former 2nd District Court of Appeal Judge Charles Davis.

It was Davis’ first run for a partisan political office and, although running as a Republican, he failed to adhere to what has become a tenant of the GOP: get the absentee voters first.

Davis won at the polls Tuesday, but longtime political planner and activist Killebrew won the race with the mail-in and early vote ballots.

The anticipated overhaul of the sometimes intransigent and stagnant Polk County School Board wound up about 50-50. After a scandal involving the then-superintendent and a top aide and the board’s slowness to do anything, many believed there would be tight contests for the four school board seats up for election this year.

One board member drew no opposition, while another, perhaps in part sensing public anger, did not seek re-election. That left two seats with incumbents and an open seat for the nonpartisan election in Tuesday’s primary.

Incumbent Lori Cunningham received more than 50 percent of the vote and was returned for her fourth four-year term.

But the other incumbent, Hunt Berryman, was a very distant second to the first-time candidate and school board critic Billy Townsend in the three-way race. Still, Townsend must now contend with Berryman in a runoff.

Becky Troutman, wife of former Florida House member and potential 2018 Cabinet candidate Baxter Troutman, led by 9,000 votes in the four-way race for the open school board seat, but did not get the required 50 percent of the vote. She will face Sara Beth Reynolds in the general election.

The most surprising win from a vote-margin standpoint was the re-election of Polk County Judge Susan Flood Barberdisciplined for an alleged romantic relationship with her bailiff.

She had been the target of some Republican leaders, who released photos of her looking at state attorney’s evidence against her while a deposition was in recess. Barber apparently didn’t realize the room’s security cameras were on, they said. It is a nonpartisan race, but so what? Parties don’t care when trying to elect one of their own.

But Barber was returned to the bench, winning by a margin of 5,500 votes over challenger Carson Bassett, due in part to a last-minute Facebook post from a well-known local attorney who endorsed her.

The results of Tuesday’s Primary elections in Polk County:

Polk Democratic Primary 9th Congressional District

Susannah Randolph – 4,791/34.67 percent

Dena Grayson – 4,534/32.81 percent

Darren Soto – 3,526/25.52 percent

Valleri Crabtree – 968/7 percent

Democratic Primary Entire 9th Congressional District

Darren Soto – 14,496/36.26 percent

Susannah Randolph – 11,267/28.18 percent     

Dena Grayson – 11,122/27.82 percent

Valleri Crabtree – 3,093/7.74 percent

Polk Republican Primary 9th Congressional District

Wayne Liebnitzky – 9,662/66.33 percent

Wanda Rentas – 4,904/33.67 percent

Republican Primary Entire 9th Congressional District

Wayne Liebnitzky – 22,725/67.56 percent

Wanda Rentas – 10,911/32.44 percent

Polk Republican Primary Florida House District 41

Sam Killebrew – 5,134/51.26 percent

Charles Davis – 4,881/48.74 percent

Polk Democratic Primary Florida House District 41

Bob Doyel – 5,360/64.95 percent

Nicolas Garcia  2,892/35.05 percent

Polk County Commission (Universal Ballot)

Bill Braswell – 40,889/66.21 percent

J.C. Martin – 20,868/33.79 percent

Polk County Judge

Susan Barber – 36,026/54.13 percent

Carson Bassett – 30,530/45.87 percent

Polk County School Board District 1

Billy Townsend (Runoff) – 27,978/42.64 percent

Hunt Berryman (Runoff) – 21,500/32.77 percent

Ed Shoemaker – 16,135/24.59 percent

Polk County School Board District 2

Lori Cunningham (Elected)  33,391/51.99 percent

Ronnie L. Clark – 17,202/26.78 percent

Kevin J. Kitto – 7,000/10.90 percent

Tim James – 6,634/10.33 percent

Polk County School Board District 4

Becky Troutman (Runoff) – 25,105/38.26 percent

Sara Beth Reynolds (Runoff) – 16,466/25.10 percent

Ed Smith – 16,085/24.52 percent

Rebekah Ricks – 7,956 /12.13 percent

 

Mitch Perry Report for 9.1.16 —The debate about the debates begins in Florida

I think I speak for a lot of Florida political observers in expressing my disappointment that, for whatever reason, Patrick Murphy never debated his Democratic Senate opponents, Pam Keith and Alan Grayson, during the just-concluded primary campaign.

Murphy avoided debates organized by Florida Public Radio stations and Bay News 9/News 13 in Orlando well before news broke that Grayson’s ex-wife accused him of abusing her. When that news broke, Murphy said Grayson was not worthy of a debate (ignoring Pam Keith at the time).

Now that he’s an underdog (if just slightly) against Republican Marco Rubio in the general election, however, Murphy hardly can be the one dictating terms. Right?

Not exactly. After Rubio went bold and challenged Murphy to six (!) debates yesterday, Murphy came back and challenged Rubio to say he will commit to serving for six years. Since Rubio won’t do that, Murphy said he’ll do just one debate, in late October.

There probably would never be six debates, but just one? Why not at least two or three?

Look, Rubio has had to suck it up big-time now that he has gone against his vows not to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, after he faded out badly in his run for the presidency. But with a real chance that he could compete again in 2020, he’s made the political calculation that it’s better to be part of the system in Washington to try another run.

If he were to be quoted on tape as saying that he was committed to serving all six years, and then announced in 2019 that he was running for president, well, his Republican rivals would shred him to pieces. Carlos Beruff didn’t lay a hand on him during the primary, so now it’s mano-a-mano against Murphy until Nov. 8.

Rubio seems pretty confident against the two-term Democrat from Jupiter, thus the bold announcement of six debates, immediately putting Murphy on the spot.

Murphy has been hammering all week how Rubio shouldn’t be seriously considered because of his failure to declare to serve a full term if elected. That’s a smart strategy, but he can’t say it for 70 more days. It’s going to come down to policy.

As it stands now, submitting to just one debate feels somewhat insubstantial, and an extension of what happened this past summer.

In other news …

Despite having no money and little name recognition, Pam Keith came close to getting more votes than Alan Grayson in the Florida Democratic Senate primary. Keith says she “feels like a winner” while still realizing the name of the game in politics is winning.

And they’re off: HD 60 Democratic candidate David Singer says Republican Jackie Toledo’s stances on illegal immigrants in Florida “on board” with Donald Trump.

While some people may be stunned to have seen Tim Schock trounce Jim Norman in Tuesday night’s attempt by Norman to make his political comeback, Schock said he wasn’t.

Sarasota poli sci professor Frank Alcock is going to kick off his general election campaign against Republican Greg Steube in Florida’s 23rd Senate District by doing the “Tour de Frank” this weekend.

Alan and Dena Grayson blame losses on ‘sewer money,’ don’t rule out political comebacks

Don’t expect U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson to offer any support to fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in what is likely to be a brutal U.S. Senate contest with Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Absolutely not,” Grayson told FloridaPolitics.com Wednesday, before accusing Murphy of running “possibly the dirtiest campaign that Florida has ever seen” and bringing up his previous allegations that Murphy is no Democrat.

Murphy, of Palm Beach Gardens, thrashed Grayson, of Orlando, on Tuesday in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary. Murphy took 59 percent of the vote to Grayson’s 18 percent, with Miami lawyer Pam Keith grabbing 15 percent.

The overwhelming victory puts Murphy up against Rubio, who won his own overwhelming victory Tuesday. This fall’s campaign is likely to be bloody and close. Grayson, a progressive-wing icon in the Democratic Party, might be able to inspire a few progressive voters to support Murphy. But he won’t.

Grayson blamed his fall in the Democratic primary — he once was running pretty close to Murphy in statewide polls — on what he called “sewer money”: advertising blitzes this summer by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee’s Senate Majority PAC, funded by Murphy’s father; and on the $4 million Grayson said Murphy collected from Wall Street interests and spent.

The same is true for Grayson’s wife, Dena Grayson, who lost her bid for the Democratic primary nomination to run for his seat in CD 9. In a separate interview with FloridaPolitics.com, she too blamed her loss on “sewer money,” PAC money that supported winner state Sen. Darren Soto in the closing weeks.

Soto got 36 percent, and Grayson and Susannah Randolph each got 28 percent.

Murphy’s campaign declined to comment on Alan Grayson’s statements. Soto’s did not respond to a request for comment on Dena Grayson’s statements.

Neither of the Graysons believe they are finished with politics.

First, they’re planning a honeymoon. The couple were married May 29 and a couple of days later hit the campaign trails. They’re not providing details of their honeymoon plans.

She called the honeymoon “first and foremost,” saying, “So much for marrying for political reasons; I married for love.”

After that, Alan Grayson said he plans to finish his term as representative to Florida’s 9th Congressional District by trying to get a few more amendments passed to support his causes and after that he is undecided what he will do next.

He left the door open for another possible statewide campaign in Florida in the future. He noted he carried Orange and Osceola counties and five Florida Panhandle counties — areas where his campaign ran big, late TV blitzes — and said there may be prospects from that.

He said he has no immediate plans to return to his practice as a lawyer pursuing federal whistle-blower cases.

He also said he envisions pursuing some of his political goals, such as restoring voting rights for convicted felons, as a government outsider pushing such reforms in federal, state and local venues.

And he’s not walking away from Tuesday’s primary loss with any gracious congratulations for Murphy. Grayson’s campaign centered on the message that he was a progressive Democratic warrior while Murphy was a Republican who changed parties — but not political philosophies.

“He’s denying Florida voters a true choice. He’s a Republican. We have a Republican running against a Republican,” Alan Grayson said.

He blamed his free fall among voters and ultimate 40-point loss as “very simply the $5 million of sewer money” the DSCC and Murphy’s campaign and PAC spent on advertising in July and August.

The DSCC advertising, he said, was paid for by the $1 million contribution the elder Murphy made on July 13.

Alan Grayson said his drop in the polls had nothing to do with the reports that resurfaced in late July about domestic violence reports his ex-wife Lolita Grayson had filed against him during their marriage. He called the reports a “regurgitation of the false allegations made two years ago” which he has always denied. He said they were pushed by the DSCC and Murphy’s campaign. But ultimately, he said, he doesn’t believe voters were affected by them.

Dena Grayson said the super PAC money coming to support Soto and Randolph, principally from Common Sense Leadership for America, funded by Houston hedge fund billionaire John Arnold, totaled nearly $600,000 and made the difference in the election.

“The sewer money came in. It clearly had a big effect. That’s what ended up happening. Dirty money wins, and Democracy loses,” Dena Grayson said.

She, too, would not rule out a political future. But she is a biomedical researcher and said she could be happy doing that as well.

With more than 173,000 votes, Senate hopeful Pam Keith says she feels like a winner

Although Pam Keith was always in the Senate race to win it, she won’t deny the sense of satisfaction she felt Wednesday, even though she came up well short of defeating Patrick Murphy for the Democratic nomination.

Keith captured more than 173,000 votes in the Florida Democratic Primary, finishing less than 2.5 percent behind Alan Grayson for third place in the Democratic Senate race. The 33-year-old Murphy captured 59 percent of the vote. Grayson finished in second place with just under 18 percent, and Keith, the former Navy JAG officer and Miami-based attorney, came in third with 15.4 percent. And she did that while barely raising $250,000 and airing no television ads.

“I think I conducted myself with grace, and I ran a positive campaign,” said Keith in a phone conversation Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t spend my time smearing my opponents, and so I know I didn’t win, but I still feel like a winner. Certainly, the feedback I’ve gotten back today has been nothing but positive and encouraging.”

And unlike Grayson, Keith has already endorsed Murphy (on her Facebook page) in his race against Marco Rubio in the general election. “My goal is to make sure that we take control of the Senate and retain the White House, and if I can be helpful, I will be,” she said.

During the heat of the campaign, though, Keith was hardly so sanguine about Murphy, the Democratic Party’s establishment choice from early in 2015. She was particularly piqued when he would not submit to participating in a single debate this summer, despite several media organizations’ attempts to do so. After Grayson’s ex-wife accused the Orlando congressman of domestic abuse, Murphy unilaterally declared he would not debate him, while barely acknowledging he also was blowing off Keith.

“I think that was very wrongheaded,” she said of Murphy’s decision. “What Patrick did was basically take a default position that he had so much of a lead in fundraising and visibility, that the best move for him was to just make sure that nobody else could get any visibility or oxygen, and he would win by default,” she recounts. “And I think that a lot of people who ended up voting for him, voted for him because they didn’t even know that they had another choice, or given the opportunity to see that they had a choice.

“But the name of the game of politics is winning, and his strategy worked, so you can’t fault him for doing what he thinks you need to do to win. I just think that’s not in the interest of voters.”

Perhaps Keith’s biggest moment during her quixotic campaign occurred a few weeks ago, when the Miami Herald editorial board endorsed her for the Democratic nomination, choosing her over Murphy and Grayson. Keith called that unexpected decision “a validation” of her candidacy. “It’s such a respected publication,” she said. “They didn’t do the ‘hey, this is the front-runner thing, so the front-runner gets our endorsement.’ They asked tough questions, and they based their decision on the merits of the answers given by the candidates.”

But for every positive moment like garnering the Herald’s endorsement, Keith continued to feel a lack of respect that comes in part from never having held public office. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel never invited her in for an endorsement interview, she says. Nor did the AFL-CIO. “I can’t say that I was allowed to compete head to head, and I didn’t win.  You know, that’s not exactly what happened.”

With a very real chance of recapturing the U.S. Senate this fall, the Democratic Party in Washington and Tallahassee rallied around Murphy immediately after he declared his candidacy for the Senate in the spring of 2015, with Barack Obama and Joe Biden making an unusual endorsement of Murphy early on. At that moment the party wasn’t even attempting to be unbiased in telegraphing who they were pulling for, a charge many Bernie Sanders supporters made about former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee frequently over the past year.

“I definitely think the president should not have chimed in this race,” Keith said. “I don’t think the titular head of a party should be endorsing candidates in primaries. I think that’s wrong, and it doesn’t make for a fair race. And if we start to lose faith that we have fair primaries, then we lose something critical, and I’m not sure that it can be fixed in the future if we let it go.”

While some of her supporters are already inquiring about her running for another office in two to four years, Keith said she’s not willing to commit to anything yet — other than that after a year-and-half on the road competing with limited financial resources, she needs a job. “If you know anyone’s hiring?” she laughed, before addressing the disappointment she hears from Florida progressives, not exactly thrilled about a Murphy candidacy.

“In politics, sometimes the candidates you want sometimes don’t win and sometimes things don’t go the way that you want them to, but you gotta keep your eye on the bigger picture, and you must be pragmatic, and there are a lot of things at stake this year, and I don’t want people to use their disappointment or their bitterness to be a block toward making rational choices.

“Our country needs us to be clearheaded, and to be pragmatic, and I’m inviting all my fellow Floridians out there to take heed of that.”

 

Marco Rubio challenges Patrick Murphy to six televised debates

Challenge, accepted?

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio challenged Rep. Patrick Murphy to six media-sponsored live debates before Election Day. In a letter to Murphy, Rubio said Floridians deserved to hear from both candidates.

Rubio easily won his primary Tuesday, receiving 72 percent of the vote. He’ll face Murphy — who beat Alan Grayson with 49 percent of the vote — in the November election.

“Despite our differences, I hope we can agree that voters deserve to know where we stand on the important issues of our time,” he wrote in a letter to Murphy. “I am writing because when it comes to a debate about our future, I believe Floridians today deserve no less than what they received in 2010. Therefore, I’m asking you to join me in committing to six media-sponsored live debates between now and Election Day. Just as we did in 2010, at least one of these debates should be sponsored by a Spanish-language media outlet.”

Rubio faced Democrat Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist, then running as an independent, in the 2010 Senate race. The three men agreed to do six debates, hosted by different media outlets.

In a statement Wednesday, Murphy said he was “excited to debate Marco Rubio.” But Murphy appeared to stop short of agreeing to six debates, and he added his own challenge to the mix.

“His ‘challenge’ today is nothing more than a desperate attempt to try and change the campaign narrative from the fact that he abandoned Florida,” said Murphy in a statement. “I have a counter-challenge: Sen, Rubio, commit to serving a six-year term.”

Earlier this week, Rubio told CNN he couldn’t commit to a full Senate term if he wins re-election. Murphy seized on it, retweeting his comments and saying he could make that commitment.

“Clearly, Marco Rubio doesn’t understand that campaigning and debating isn’t governing. Floridians deserve better than Marco Rubio, and that difference will be on display in the upcoming debates, including the Leadership Florida debate on Oct. 26,” said Murphy. “Sen. Rubio has the worst vote attendance record of any Florida senator in nearly 50 years. He completely abandoned our state and the day after his primary victory, he has already left Florida to raise money in Texas.”

Neither Murphy nor Rubio debated their primary opponents.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.31.16 — Moving on to November

Good morning, everyone.

Florida’s primary election is history. So, where to begin?

Patrick Murphy will face Marco Rubio in November. Murphy crushed Alan Grayson, 59  to 18 percent, with Pam Keith a close third at 15 percent. Rubio gets credit for honesty, saying that he can’t say for sure that he’ll fulfill all six years of his term if elected, which naturally Murphy is attempting to exploit.

Boy, this race is going to get tawdry.

In what has to be considered a mini-upset, St. Petersburg’s Darryl Rouson holds an ever-so-slight lead over Ed Narain when all the votes were tabulated in last night’s Senate District 19 race. With over 37,000 votes cast on both sides of the Bay, Rouson had 61 more votes, close enough to trigger an automatic machine recount after Thursday. A huge (probable) win for Rouson, and a big loss for not just Narain, but the Florida Democratic Party, who have viewed Narain as an up-and-coming star in the party. He likely will be back, but not in 2017.

Augie Ribeiro did decently in St. Pete in terms of votes, but there was no way he was able to get his name out effectively enough in such a short time. A lot of people are talking today about how big money came up short in this election, but in the case of Ribeiro, he was trying to go from zero to 60 in less than two months.

You don’t have Jim Norman to kick around anymore, Hillsborough Democrats, Republicans and members of the media. That comeback experience ended last night, and now his GOP opponent, Tim Schock, advances to the general election against Pat Kemp. That should be a good battle, and one would think the Hillsborough Dems would get strongly behind Kemp. If not, they’re looking at a board that will have a 6-1 Republican advantage.

Jackie Toledo narrowly edged out Rebecca Smith in the GOP House District 60 race. Congrats to Toledo, who absolutely outworked Smith in the grassroots to get more votes.

The trash talking has already begun in the CD 13 race between David Jolly and Charlie Crist after Jolly cruised to an easy re-election victory in his GOP race for the nomination.

In the end, it wasn’t all that close in South Florida, as former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz defeated insurgent progressive challenger Tim Canova by 14 points, 57 to 43 percent in the race for Congress in Florida’s 23rd District.

Ben Diamond defeated Eric Lynn in the highly competitive House District 68 race in Pinellas County.

Tampa attorney Sean Shaw won a close contest against East Tampa businesswoman Dianne Hart in the House District 61 seat.

Pat Frank whipped Kevin Beckner in the Hillsborough Clerk of the Courts race.

Daniel Webster wins in CD 11.

It wouldn’t be Election Day in Hillsborough County with some report of shenanigans taking place. As this one went, however, it was pretty small potatoes.

Murphy’s comment to us on Monday that he’d likely pursue adding a public option to the Affordable Care Act continues to ruffle the waters, as this statement from Americans for Prosperity Florida indicates.

Sarasota area Republican Alex Miller says she’ll change her main TV ad now that she’s going to the general election in House District 72, after several members of the public stated that they didn’t appreciate her “one of us” tagline.

With a major storm approaching Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn used the occasion yesterday to lobby City Council members to approve his $250 million stormwater infrastructure improvement plan.

Patrick Murphy easily wins Democratic nod for U.S. Senate race

Florida’s Democrats Tuesday picked U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy’s youth, moderate politics and well-oiled campaign machine to battle with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat this fall.

Murphy, 33, of Palm Beach Gardens, crushed U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando and lawyer Pam Keith of Miami in what had been a cutthroat primary campaign battle, preparing the winner for what likely will be another cutthroat general election battle this fall.

Early returns showed Murphy with an insurmountable lead, drawing 59 percent of the Democratic vote, while Grayson was receiving 17 percent and Keith 15 percent.

Rubio was easily defeating Bradenton businessman Carlos Beruff for the Republican nomination.

“I am honored to earn the Democratic nomination to be Florida’s next U.S. Senator,” Murphy said. “Over the past year, I have met and listened to so many hardworking families from across our state. They deserve a senator who values hard work, and who will always put them first. Together, I know that we can strengthen our middle class, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, pass meaningful legislation to curb gun violence, and defend a woman’s right to choose.

“For the past six years, Marco Rubio has put himself first, failing to show up for his job except when it benefits his special interest campaign donors,” he continued. Sen. Rubio put his personal ambition ahead of Florida’s middle class, earning the worst vote attendance record for a Florida senator in nearly 50 years. Floridians are ready for a senator who puts them first, and we’re going to make that a reality this November.”

Murphy is a two-term congressman who had already proven he could run an all-out campaign when he defeated conservative Republican icon U.S. Rep. Allen West for his House seat in 2012.

He brings the kind of moderate record and calm demeanor to the campaign that harkens to the only other Democrats who’ve succeeded in recent decades, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.

Grayson had challenged that moderation as a weakness, and all along sought to depict the battle as a true progressive Democrat — himself — versus a Democrat of questionable Democratic values —Murphy. But in the end the contest was not about that. It was, as Murphy’s campaign had long expected, a contrast between someone who is Alan Grayson, and someone who isn’t.

Grayson’s campaign was barely seaworthy, having shed numerous top staffers over the past year and underperformed in fundraising and ground troops, and it could not survive Grayson’s own past or the barrage of Grayson criticisms shot its way by Murphy’s campaign. One final shot in late July, revelations alleging domestic violence, sank Grayson.

Keith was never a serious factor, lost in Grayson’s progressive-champion shadow and shut out by Murphy’s almost complete accumulation of mainline party support. Yet she picked up some surprising late support, including an endorsement from the Miami Herald, and nearly caught Grayson for second in the voting.

It’s not the party … it’s the after party! A rundown of where Florida candidates will be on Election Night

Win or lose, at least there will be a party.

Election night parties will be raging across the state Tuesday night. For some candidates, it’s a chance to celebrate and thank supporters; maybe even have a little bit of fun before the final sprint to November. It will be a somber event for others, marking the last hurrah of their campaign.

Here’s a rundown of where candidates will be partying hard when the polls close on Tuesday.

U.S. Senate

Rep. Patrick Murphy will hold his primary night shindig at the DoubleTree Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. It will likely be a celebratory bash; polls have Murphy leading Rep. Alan Grayson by double digits. A St. Leo University poll conducted between Aug. 14 and Aug. 18 showed Murphy led Grayson 48 percent to 17 percent. A Florida Chamber Polling Institute survey, conducted from Aug. 17 to Aug. 22, showed Murphy was at 40 percent to Grayson’s 11 percent.

Sen. Marco Rubio will hold his primary night party at the Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South in Kissimmee. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and guests are asked to register. Rubio is leading in the polls, with the St. Leo University poll showing he leads Carlos Beruff 68 percent to 14 percent. The Florida Chamber survey found Rubio leads Beruff 68 percent to 19 percent.

U.S. House

CD 2 — Neal Dunn is holding his election night gathering at the home of two supporters, Carey and Nancy Scott, in Panama City. The event begins at 7 p.m. central time (8 p.m. eastern time).

CD 4 — Republican John Rutherford will hold his election night party at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. The party kicks off at 7 p.m. Melissa Nelson, a state attorney candidate in Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit, will also be holding her party at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

CD 7 — Democrat Stephanie Murphy is hosting an primary night watch party at 7 p.m. at CaddyShanks the University of Central Florida.

CD 5 — Al Lawson will hold his election night party at The Moon in Tallahassee. The party kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

CD 10 — Democrat Bob Poe is hosting a primary night party at 7 p.m. at his campaign headquarters in Orlando

CD 11  — Republican Justin Grabelle plans to spend the evening at home, watching the returns and celebrating with his family and friends.

CD 18 — Republican Brian Mast kicks off his primary night party at 6:30 p.m. at the Palm City Civic Organization in Palm City. Republican Rebecca Negron will hold her election night watch party at Stuart Coffee in downtown Stuart. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. On the Democratic side, Randy Perkins will hold his primary night watch party at 6:30 p.m. at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce.

CD 19 — Chauncey Goss will hold his watch party at The Edison at Fort Myers Country Club. His party kicks off at 6 p.m. Francis Rooney will hold his primary watch party at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs. The watch party begins at 6 p.m.

CD 23 — Tim Canova will hold an election night watch party at a private residence in Pembroke Pines. The party starts at 8 p.m.

CD 26 — Joe Garcia, who is trying to reclaim his former seat in Congress, will hold his election night party at La Carreta in Miami. The event begins at 8:15 p.m.

State Senate

SD 12 — Dennis Baxley is holding his election night party at his campaign headquarters, 6006 S.E. Abshier Blvd. in Belleview. The fun kicks off at 7 p.m. and supporters are asked to RSVP to Tricia@DennisBaxley.com.

SD 19 — Rep. Ed Narain is scheduled to hold his election night festivities at the Tampa Heights Community Center in Tampa. Augie Ribeiro is holding his party at Three Birds Tavern beginning 7 p.m. Rep. Darryl Rouson will be at the Green Bench Brewery beginning at 6 p.m.

SD 27 — Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto will hold her watch party at CRU Restaurant in Fort Myers. The party begins at 6:30 p.m., and supporters are asked to RSVP to teamlizbeth@gmail.com.

SD 28 — Rep. Matt Hudson is having a private party to thank volunteers, supporters, family and friends.  Rep. Kathleen Passidomo will her hold a primary night shindig at her campaign headquarters, located inside the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce building in Naples.

SD 34 — Democrat Gary Farmer is kicking off his party at 7:30 p.m. He’ll be watching returns with supporters at Maguire’s Hill 16 in Fort Lauderdale.

State House

HD 48 — Democrat Alex Barrio is holding his festivities at Oh’ Que Bueno Restaurant in Orlando. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

HD 59 — Rena Frazier is holding her election night watch party at O’Toole’s Irish Pub in Brandon. The party begins at 6:30 p.m.

HD 68 — Ben Diamond is holding his party at 400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse in St. Petersburg. The party begins at 6:30 p.m., and Diamond will join supporters after the polls close at 7 p.m. Eric Lynn is settling in at Reno Downtown Joint in St. Petersburg for his election night party. The fun begins at 7 p.m.

HD 114 — Daisy Baez will hold her election night party at PinchMe Gastrobar & Market in Coral Gables. The festivities begin at 9 p.m.

Candidates won’t be the only ones hosting election night parties.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce will hold a primary watch party starting at 7 p.m. at the Florida Chamber of Commerce building, 136. S. Bronough St. in Tallahassee. The event is hosted by Marian Johnson, Andrew Wiggins, Andy Gonzalez, and Hannah Kaplan.

The Orange County Democratic Party is throwing a shindig at 5:30 p.m. at Hammered Lamb, 1235 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando. The first 50 Democrats to arrive will receive a free drink.

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