Alan Grayson Archives - Page 6 of 52 - Florida Politics

Patrick Murphy gets League of Conservation Voters endorsement

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy won the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters in his race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday and vowed to focus on Everglades restoration and stopping the related algae blooms fouling Florida’s coasts.

Murphy and LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld spent much of the announcement, made in Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday, attacking Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s environmental record on issues ranging from climate change to water quality.

They said nothing about his Democratic primary opponents, notably U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, or Pam Keith, whom he’ll have to beat first in the Aug. 30 primary.

“The contrast to Sen. Rubio’s corporate polluter agenda could not be more stark,” Sittenfeld said, charging Rubio has denied the basic science of climate change and advocating for big polluters, and noting he has gotten a 6 percent score on LCV Action Fund’s scorecard.

“Florida is already suffering the impact of climate change and we simply cannot afford to give Rubio another four years in the Senate before he decides to run for president again,” she said.

She called Murphy a “true friend of the environment.”

Murphy turned first to climate change, but then gave a long discourse on restoring the Everglades and addressing the algae blooms. He also called for diversifying Florida’s energy production portfolio with solar, wind and thermal, and opposing offshore drilling and fracking.

“The truth is, we don’t have 10, 15 years to get this right,” Murphy said. “Climate change is a real threat and Florida is directly impacted. Almost every study shows that South Florida in particular and Miami specifically will be the most impacted city in the entire world. Floridians area already feeling this impact firsthand.”

Murphy declared a “moral obligation” to restore and preserve Florida’s environment and added, “Unlike Marco Rubio, I’m committing to showing up and fighting every day to protect our environment in the U.S. Senate.”

For the algae bloom and the Everglades, Murphy talked about continuing to funnel billions of money into long-term plans to redirect water through Florida into the Everglades, as it was naturally 150 years ago.

“It is going to take a long time to get it back the way Mother Nature intended, but we have to keep looking into each of these solutions looking for funding and working with local, state and federal governments to get that done,” he said.

Rubio’s campaign responded by declaring Murphy supports the “carbon tax” aimed at coal and oil, and blamed for running up electric bills. Environmentalists and Democrats pushed the tax to reduce the use of traditional fossil fuels and make renewable energy alternatives more price competitive, while Republicans opposed because it is driving away coal jobs and increasing energy costs.

“Patrick Murphy wants Florida families and small businesses to pay for costly environmental regulations and policies like a carbon tax. At a time when many Floridians are struggling to get by, Marco will continue to support policies that improve the environment without hurting the economy and stifling job creation,” said Rubio campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens.

Meanwhile, Grayson’s campaign charged Murphy has missed the mark on a few key environmental policies pushed by progressive Democrats, including claiming that Murphy had supported expansions of fracking and Gulf oil drilling.

“Patrick Murphy constantly teamed up with Republicans to force President Obama to approve Keystone XL, all while voting to expand fracking and Gulf oil drilling. Alan Grayson vocally opposed all three,” Grayson Campaign Manager Michael Ceraso stated in a news release Tuesday.

Joe Henderson: In Florida U.S. Senate race, it’s liar versus slacker

It won’t show up on the ballot this way, but the parameters of a likely November showdown between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy for a U.S. Senate seat are becoming clear.

Place your “X” for the liar or the slacker.

Rubio will try to win re-election by framing Murphy as a serial fibber who can’t be trusted.

Murphy will try for the upset by framing Rubio as someone who didn’t show up for work because he wasn’t interested in the job he was elected to do, and so he can’t be trusted.

First, there is the matter of the Aug. 30 primary where both candidates face challenges. They appear to have moved well past those skirmishes to the main event, though. The polls indicate that is a safe strategy at this late hour.

At a gathering Monday in Tampa, Murphy wasn’t drawing distinctions between himself and Alan Grayson, his primary opponent. As Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com reported, it was all about Rubio — even though Murphy said, “We don’t take anything for granted.”

Oh yes, he does. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have followed that by saying, “Everyone I talk to, whether they’re Republican, Democrat or independent, tell me: Patrick, I want a senator who at least wants the job. Who at least wants to be there to solve our problems.”

In case anyone didn’t get that message, Murphy piled on and said of Rubio, “He’s in this because he wants to run for president again.”

It’s not a bad seed for Murphy to plant in voters’ minds. Rubio’s voting record in the Senate, along with his oft-voiced frustration about the job, is legit fodder for an opponent. As Murphy will repeatedly remind voters, Rubio at first said he wasn’t running for re-election but changed his mind a couple of months ago after Republicans begged him to get into the race.

Rubio’s camp quickly counter-punched Monday with a liar, liar, pants on fire missile.

“Patrick Murphy was caught lying about being a small-business owner himself, making him the last person to know what it takes to help Florida’s entrepreneurs succeed,” campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens told Perry.

Rubio spent part of Saturday in Brandon, a Republican stronghold. He needs to do more of that. Bob Buckhorn, Tampa’s Democratic Mayor, has pressed the attack that Rubio is an absentee representative of the people.

When Rubio was in the process of being routed in the state’s Republican presidential primary, Buckhorn made the point to me that, despite his taking several trips to Washington on Tampa’s behalf, Rubio never made time to meet with him. Buckhorn is a staunch supporter of Murphy.

So, who do you trust?

Put another way, who do you distrust least?

The liar?

The slacker?

It’s game on and now we know the plan.

In Tampa, Patrick Murphy says Marco Rubio is running to be President, not a full-time Senator

Although both have a primary election to get through in two weeks, Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio are acting like the general election for U.S. Senate is already on. That was evident in Tampa Monday morning, when the Jupiter Democrat denied he was overlooking Alan Grayson and the Aug. 30 primary, but then immediately lit into his probable Republican opponent this fall.

“We don’t take anything for granted,” Murphy responded, adding that he’s going out and about to try to meet as many voters as he can. “Everyone I talk to, whether they’re Republican, Democrat or independent, tells me: ‘Patrick, I want a senator who at least wants the job. Who at least wants to be there to solve our problems.'”

Murphy spoke with reporters after making an appearance at Tampa Bay WaVE, a local nonprofit that has been helping entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow tech businesses since 2008. He was joined by Mayor Bob Buckhorn, one of the first elected officials in the Tampa Bay area to back Murphy’s candidacy more than a year ago.

“Sen. Rubio’s missed more votes than any senator from Florida in nearly 50 years. That’s to me is unconscionable,” Murphy added.

When Rubio announced in late June he would reverse his previous stance and run again for his Senate seat, he refused to commit to fulfilling a full six-year term in office, saying, “What I’m not going to do any more are these unequivocal pronunciations.” The comment came after he had reversed his statements over the past year that he would not run for re-election to his Senate seat. With Donald Trump on the rocks in his current presidential run, more than a few Republicans are already thinking of the potential field in 2020 — and Rubio could very well be in that mix again.

“He’s in this because he wants to run for president again,” Murphy said. “That’s his ambitions. I care about working for the people of Florida, for getting things done for Floridians, and part of that is getting around and meeting entrepreneurs and meeting people, hearing what’s on their minds so I can be the strongest voice for them.”

In the days before the presidential primary, Buckhorn blasted Rubio for being a no-show in Tampa for the majority of his five years-plus as a senator. He repeated the charge Monday.

“If it’s any indication, I’ve seen Patrick Murphy more in the last five weeks that I saw Marco Rubio in the last five years,” Buckhorn says. “I have never met Marco Rubio. That speaks volumes about his commitment to Florida, and certainly his commitment to the Tampa Bay area.”

Although Buckhorn supports Murphy, he’s also expressed praise for Rick Scott and Pam Bondi in the past, statements that have at times alienated him from some local Democrats. Buckhorn insisted he wasn’t being partisan in expressing his disappointment about Rubio’s performance when it comes to showing Tampa some attention.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a Democratic mayor or a Republican mayor,” Buckhorn added. “We’re the third-largest city in this state, we’re the economic engine that drives this state, and the fact that our U.S. senator has never taken the time to spend any time to talk about issues with the local leaders, I think that’s an indictment right there.”

The Rubio camp has pushed back on those charges, but there’s no doubt that he’s been a much more visible in the Tampa Bay area in recent weeks, including a visit to a Republican Party of Florida field office in Brandon on Saturday, and making an appearance at Republican convention watch party in South Tampa last month.

Murphy and Buckhorn spent more than a half-hour chatting with some of the local entrepreneurs who were at Tampa Bay WaVe, including Akira Mitchell, with TechStart TampaBay. It’s a local nonprofit that teaches kids how to code, build robots and 3D print. “Our focus is on the next generation of creators. We provide opportunity, inspiration and education for them.”

Murphy also spoke with Sherry Benton with taoconnect.com, and Saravana Pat Bhava‘s business with pikmykid.com. Both talked of potential remedies they hoped the federal government could work on if Murphy makes it to the Senate.

Not surprisingly, his visit was blasted by the Rubio campaign.

“Patrick Murphy was caught lying about being a small business owner himself, making him the last person to know what it takes to help Florida’s entrepreneurs succeed,” said campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens. “Murphy doesn’t even know whether the business he claims to own is still operating. Florida’s small businesses already have a senator who fights for them, and that’s why local business groups from across the state are supporting Marco’s campaign.”

Ahrens’ comment referenced allegations made by reporter Miami television reporter Jim DeFede earlier this summer, who reported Murphy exaggerated claims he was a small business owner and a certified public accountant. Then, Murphy responded with a memo saying that the story was inaccurate with some of its claims.

 

 

Mitch Perry Report for 8.15.16 —Team USA Basketball team continues to barely get by in XXXI Olympiad

Time for sport, as they say on the BBC.

Well, so much for those stories about how those dire predictions about how the Rio Olympics have been proven wrong: Yesterday in Rio, U.S. gold medalist Ryan Lochte said robbers posing as police pointed a gun at his head and took his money, while three other U.S. swimmers with him were forced to lie on the ground by their assailants and also were robbed. Things had been going so smoothly in Brazil until then, hadn’t they? Well, Olympic officials did find two bullets that tore through a media tent at the equestrian center and reporters have claimed their bus was shot at while driving along a highway from a basketball arena.

So how has your Olympic viewing experience been to date, more than halfway through the  XXXI Olympiad? I’m actually fascinated by how Team USA’s 2016 Dream Team is (barely) winning each game by the skin of their teeth. Yesterday, the Americans — led by the Warriors’ Klay Thompson, edged out France, 100-97, securing the top seed in Group A with  5-0 record. It was nice to see Thompson start contributing, after having laid some golden eggs in the shooting department last week. New Warrior Kevin Durant hasn’t been stellar, either.

The Tampa Bay Rays were on national TV on Friday night — as the team playing opposite Alex Rodriguez in his last game as a New York Yankee. But is A-Rod’s career over? The way he’s played this season, it probably should be, but rumors abound that he may get a call from the Miami Marlins this week, after they lost their star player, Giancarlo Stanton, for the rest of the season. Even though there’s little in the tank, A-Rod didn’t want this weekend to be his last ever, and if the Marlins sign him, it’s on the Yankees dime.

The New York sports media is going to miss A-Rod big time. As the New York Daily News Bob Raissman wrote on Sunday, “Somewhere out there, we see a lonely sports headline writer sitting in a dimly lit room sobbing as he looks at all his past Rodriguez-inspired work knowing that it’s over-and-out for catchy lines like: ‘A-Fraud.’ Or ‘A-Roid Busted Again.’”

Rays fans will be heartened to know that manager Kevin Cash‘s job is secure, according to Rays owner Stu Sternberg. I mean, you are happy he’s not in any trouble, despite the fact the franchise is staring at a 100-loss season (though they were impressive yesterday in defeating the Yanks, 12-3).

NFL football also returned to America this weekend after being away for seven months. Well, sort of. What else do we call pre-season games, anyway? Mildly diverting entertainment, unless you’re a season ticket holder to any of the NFL’s 30 franchises, in which case it’s more like a ripoff.

In other news …

Treasure Coast Rep. Patrick Murphy is in Tampa today. His main opponent in the Florida Democratic Senate primary, Alan Grayson, paid a visit to the Seminole Heights Library last week.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova engaged in their first and probably only debate in their race for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

Adam Putnam is on everyone’s shortlist as a Republican candidate for governor in 2018. He spoke Friday for nearly an hour on a variety of issues in Tampa.

Better Florida Alliance rates U.S. Senate candidates on national security

The Better Florida Alliance — a conservative group dedicated to economic freedom, tough national security and strict Constitutional government — has issued report cards rating Florida’s major U.S. Senate candidates on “National Security” issues.

The group gave all A grades to the Republicans, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and his challenger Carlos Beruff, and low and failing grades, C’s, D’s and F’s, to the Democrats, U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

“The United States faces growing threats around the world, made worse by enhanced military and technological advances of nations and rogue terrorist groups that do not share our views on freedom and personal liberty,” Brian Burgess, spokesman for Better Florida Alliance, stated in a news release from the group. “That’s why we believe national security must be an extremely high priority for the person we elect to send to the United States Senate.”

Rubio, of Miami, got A-pluses in everything, as the group hailed his “comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS” in the “Defeat ISIS category; his “call for a strong national defense,” in the “Strong Military” category; and his staunch opposition to the Iran deal in the “Protecting Israel” category.

Rubio’s overall National Security grade was A+.

Beruff, the Bradenton homebuilder, got an A+ for Protecting Israel, as the group noted his “solid understanding of the treacherous loopholes in the Iran deal,” and A grades in positions for a Strong Military and Defeating ISIS.

Beruff’s overall National Security grade was A.

Murphy, of Jupiter, got a C+ for Strong Military, a grade that might have been better had it not been for his “discussion on climate change being as much of a threat as ISIS,” according to the group. He got a D for Protecting Israel and an F for Defeating ISIS.

Murphy’s overall National Security grade was D+.

Grayson, of Orlando, got a D for Protecting Israel, a grade that might have been better, but the group noted that “Grayson, who is Jewish, makes no mention of Israel sovereignty on his website.” He got a D+ for Strong Military, with his support for veterans being cited as a strength; and an F for Defeating ISIS.

Grayson’s overall National Security grade was a D-.

Earlier this year the Better Florida Alliance issued report cards on “Taxpayer Accountability,” but only two of the current candidates were rated, Murphy and Grayson, because Beruff had no record yet, and Rubio had not yet entered the race. Murphy got a D- and Grayson an F.

In Tampa, Alan Grayson says a Senate victory for him is the chance “to take our govt. back”

“All rise!”

Those were the first words Alan Grayson uttered in jest while entering a conference room at the Seminole Heights Library in Tampa on Thursday night.

The Orlando area U.S. representative and U.S. Senate candidate then gave a sarcastic shoutout to the “trackers” who follow his every move in public, before setting in for the next hour-and-a-half to take questions from approximately 80 people at the town hall meeting.

Gun control, the environment, restoring voting rights to ex-felons, and even his run-in with a POLITICO reporter during the Democratic National Convention were all fodder for discussion, as well as the de rigueur slamming of his main opponent in the Senate race, Jupiter Congressman Patrick Murphy.

“My opponent has taken more money from Wall Street than any other Democrat … or any other Republican other that that of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy,” he said. “He’s taken more money from Wall Street than the chairman of the Banking Committee (Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling). How do you do that?” he asked.

He then answered his own question.

“You cut the law into little pieces and you sell it to the highest bidder,” Grayson said, adding somewhat ominously that a vote for him was “the last chance to say that you can either work for the people, or work against the people? You can either do the greatest good for the greatest number, or you can be a toady for special interests. That’s really what this election is all about. It’s a referendum on our system of government. One last chance to take our government back.”

The crowd — some of them wearing Bernie Sanders T-shirts — seemed totally in his corner. A couple of citizens said they didn’t know much about him beforehand, but were impressed by what they were hearing.

One of those people was East Hillsborough activist Michelle Williams, who said her major issue was the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons. Grayson informed her it was an issue that he cared a lot about.

There was one moment that could have gone sideways during the discussion. One citizen said there were “three troubling issues” he hoped Grayson could speak to. One was his support for his wife, Dr. Dena Grayson, over his former staffer, Susannah Randolph, in the race to succeed him in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

Grayson swatted that question away easily, espousing the virtues of having a doctor elected to the House of Representatives, especially in the time of Zika.

The second question was about the House Office of Congressional Ethics report that alleged that there was a “substantial reason to believe” that Grayson broke federal and House ethics rules in connection with his offshore hedge fund. And the third question was about the “admittedly ambushed interview” he had last month in Philadelphia with a POLITICO reporter, as well as “the larger issues pertaining to that.”

Those “larger issues” were the allegations by Grayson’s ex-wife that he had physically abused her.

Grayson said he would answer “all of the questions you have,” but added that “the things you refer to actually touch the lives of no one in this room, except possibly me.”

But, in fact, he did not answer at all answer the questions regarding the hedge fund or those “larger issues,” and instead simply focused on his confrontation with POLITICO reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere.

“In the NBA, if you want to take a charge, you have to stop moving your feet,” the congressman began, as he started to shuffle his own feet to demonstrate what he meant. “He went here, and there, and everywhere and consistently tried to block me, leading the room with his chest. I’ll tell you, I’ve never gotten that treatment, even from Republican trackers.”

Grayson went on to say that that he kept on telling Dovere that “you are blocking me.”

“Is that my fault? I don’t think so. I think it’s a strange thing that just because you’re a U.S. congressman running for a Senate seat that somebody would do anything like that,” he said, before apologizing to the rest of the room because he said it had nothing to do with their lives.

In response, Dovere tells FloridaPolitics.com that, “I’m not sure why the Congressman wants to keep discussing this, but there is a video on our site showing what happened — including his pushing me while claiming I was pushing him. As he said in that video, he attended a public event, and he is a public official. I was attempting to ask him questions about the serious allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife.”

Grayson has made frequent appearances in Tampa as he vies for the Senate bid. Murphy hasn’t made as many visits, but his office did announce on Friday that he will be coming to Tampa on Monday to visit Tampa Bay Wave.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.11.16 — Marco Rubio isn’t dominating Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson in latest Q Senate poll

Before we dig into the new poll on the Florida Senate race, can I reference the lead story in this morning’s Tampa Bay Times? Two men get into a road-rage argument on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Plant City. One guy pulls out a gun and shoots the other dead. He then “cooperates” with the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office, isn’t charged, and is free to go home, where he tells a reporter who confronts him that, “it’s been a very taxing day.”

Huh?

On to politics. A brand spanking new Quinnipiac poll says Marco Rubio does lead both Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson in a one-on-match this November, but the margins are pretty competitive.

Rubio leads Murphy 48 to 45 percent and leads Grayson by a slightly larger margin, 49 to 43 percent. The key here is that independents are strongly going toward the GOP incumbent.

The same poll shows that in two other fiercely fought Senate races Republican Rob Portman leads Democrat Ted Strickland 49 to 40 percent; and in Pennsylvania, Democratic challenger Katie McGinty leads GOP incumbent Pat Toomey, 47 to 44 percent.

The Democrats need to net four seats to win control of the Senate next year. In Washington, there were great expectations Florida would be a seat they could flip from red to blue, but Rubio’s return has made that much less possible, though as the poll shows, it’s absolutely possible.

In other news …

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she will debate her Democratic congressional challenger, Tim Canova, this Sunday morning. However, it would only for 15 minutes, and Canova hasn’t agreed to it yet.

Ben Diamond went after Eric Lynn in the fiercely contested House District 68 race, claiming Lynn has failed to offer donors to his aborted congressional campaign a refund. Meanwhile, Lynn attempted to stay above the fray by airing a new television ad touting his support for public education in Florida.

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Lange says he’s trying a different way in try to campaign in his race against GOP incumbent Dennis Ross in the CD 15 race.

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission held their regular monthly meeting yesterday, where they now say their committees are committed to implementing new rules regulating ridesharing companies by October.

St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice is backing her former colleague, Wengay Newton, in the competitive House District 70 contest.

Florida’s U.S. Senate race too close to call, says new Quinnipiac poll

A November match-up between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy could be a close one.

A new Quinnipiac University poll of likely Florida voters found the race was too close to call, with 45 percent of respondents backing Rubio, while 45 percent picked Murphy. Just 7 percent of voters said they didn’t know who they would support.

Rubio received strong support from those who identified as independent voters. The poll found 51 percent of independent voters said they would vote for Rubio, while 41 percent picked Murphy.

The Miami Republican also leads among white voters, with 53 percent saying they would vote for Rubio. The survey found Murphy leads among non-white voters, 57 percent to 37 percent.

When it comes to female voters, 52 percent said they would back Murphy compared to 39 percent who picked Rubio.

Both men face primary challenges, but both are expected to snatch their party’s nomination come Aug. 30. Rubio faces Carlos Beruff, while Murphy faces Democrat Alan Grayson.

Rubio would defeat Grayson 49 percent to 43 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. In that match-up, Rubio would receive support from 49 percent of independent voters and 57 percent of white voters.

In a match-up between Murphy and Beruff, the Treasure Coast Democrat would come out on top with 48 percent support to Beruff’s 34 percent.

The Manatee County Republican would also fall short in a match-up with Grayson. The poll found Grayson would top Beruff 43 percent to 39 percent.

The poll of 1,056 likely Florida voters was conducted from July 30 to Aug. 7. It has a margin of error of 3 percent.

Barack Obama sends fundraising email on behalf of Patrick Murphy

President Barack Obama has a question for Florida voters: Can you pitch in a few bucks to help Patrick Murphy?

The campaign is sending out a fundraising email from Obama to supporters Tuesday. While the president has lent his support to Murphy in the past, the email marks the first time he has sent a fundraising appeal to voters in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.

“Patrick’s a strong progressive who’s fought special interests on behalf of working families — and won. In Congress, he’s also fought to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, stand up to the NRA for gun violence prevention, and protect a woman’s right to choose,” the president said in the email. “With all that’s at stake, we need Patrick Murphy in the Senate. But he’ll need your help to get there.”

The email goes on to say Murphy “stands up to Republicans on behalf of our shared values.”

“It’s why they’re attacking him. They know he can win in November, and they’ll spare no expense to defeat him,” he writes in the email.

Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have endorsed Murphy, a Treasure Coast Democrat, in the U.S. Senate race. Both Biden and Obama have helped raise cash for Murphy’s campaign. The president attended a Miami fundraiser for Murphy in June, and Biden has attended several fundraisers for Murphy, including one in Tallahassee last week.

Obama also cut a campaign advertisement for Murphy, and penned a letter encouraging Floridians to vote for Murphy in the primary.

Murphy faces Alan Grayson and Pam Keith in the Aug. 30 primary. A recent Suffolk University poll showed 36 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Murphy, while 17 percent picked Grayson, an Orlando Democrat. About 2 percent of voters picked Keith, while 40 percent said they were still undecided.

The support from the president and vice president — as well as other establishment Democrats — could be critical come November. Much like Murphy, Sen. Marco Rubio is expected to win his primary. The same Suffolk University poll showed Rubio led his opponent, Manatee County Republican Carlos Beruff, 62 percent to 12 percent.

The general election is expected to be one of the most-watched Senate races this election cycle, and outside groups are poised to spend millions of dollars in the Sunshine State. Recent polling averages compiled by RealClearPolitics show Rubio has a slight lead over Murphy.

“It’s more important than ever that we retake the Senate,” said Obama the email to Murphy supporters. “It’s critical to our country’s future — and continuing the progress we’ve made together under our next President. And Florida could be the state that decides it.”

Patrick Murphy ended 2nd quarter with commanding money lead over Dems and Marco Rubio

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy ended the last quarter with more than $7.2 million in the bank, more than twice as much as all the other candidates combined — including incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who managed to start his re-election bid with about $2.2 million in campaign money.

Murphy’s campaign finance lead, as recently detailed by the Federal Election Commission, was dramatic over Rubio and all other remaining U.S. Senate candidates in Florida. The Jupiter Democrat has raised $10.1 million in contributions and had $7.2 million cash-on-hand at the end of June.

Rubio did not enter the race to seek re-election until June 22. His presidential campaign fund raised almost $50 million, but was virtually broke by the end of June, and no money was transferred to his Senate campaign.

Rubio reported having raised $2.2 million for his Senate run in the last nine days of June. 2015. With campaign start-up expenses the campaign had in June, that left Rubio with just over $2 million in his Senate campaign bank account at the end of June.

Rubio must get past Republican challenger Carlos Beruff first. Beruff has raised little money, just over $300,000 total, but has donated more than $4.2 million to his own campaign. He spent almost all of that, ending June with $125,000.

Murphy’s total heading toward the Aug. 30 Democratic U.S. Senate primary crushes the amounts of his rivals, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Windermere and Miami lawyer Pam Keith. Grayson had raised $2.7 million by the end of the second quarter of 2016 and had $484,000 cash-on-hand, while Keith had raised $203,000, and had $2,488 in the bank. Those numbers include loans.

Murphy’s advantages were across the board. In particular, he is doing well with political action committees, where his $1.58 million take so far is even more than Rubio had raised from PACs in his presidential campaign. Murphy’s committee benefactors have ranged from the New Cuba PAC to the Marijuana Policy Project PAC, and from the Moderate Democrats PAC to the OCEANS PAC, and included numerous union, banking, energy, health insurance, and health care PACs.

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