Alan Grayson Archives - Page 7 of 52 - Florida Politics

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.”


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.

Despite abuse claims, Alan Grayson staying in Florida Senate race

Democratic leaders want Rep. Alan Grayson to go away. His ex-wife says he’s abusive. Ethics questions dog him. Yet the liberal lawmaker is refusing to drop his bid for the U.S. Senate, potentially upending party hopes that moderate Rep. Patrick Murphy will emerge as the nominee against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Grayson is counting on the party’s most faithful to ignore the negative headlines and look at his record of being a champion of liberal values, as opposed to Murphy, a former Republican who has voted against President Obama on a number of key issues.

“He’s a nobody. Any kind of direct comparison between me and him, he loses,” Grayson said during a telephone interview this week. “There’s no way you can look at Patrick and think that he is anything but a sock puppet for lobbyists and special interests.”

Voting has already started in the Aug. 30 primary, which is being watched nationally as Democrats hope to regain control of the Senate.

As of Thursday morning, about 850,000 vote-by-mail ballots had been distributed to Democrats and about 63,000 votes had been cast. Nearly 21,000 have come from the Tampa Bay area, where Democrats are more moderate, which could help Murphy.

Murphy has his own challenges: He’s still largely unknown to most of Florida’s 4.7 million Democrats, and Republicans have spent $2.5 million on attack ads to define him before his own message gets out, accusing him of embellishing his resume by overstating his work as a certified public accountant and small business owner.

Murphy has a huge fundraising advantage over Grayson, and backing from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. But if turnout in the summertime primary is low and dominated by the party’s most liberal voters, Grayson could win.

As for Rubio’s primary test, polls put him far ahead of developer Carlos Beruff, who spent millions of his own money campaigning for what initially appeared to be an open seat. Rubio had said for months that he would not seek a second term, but after his presidential campaign failed, he changed his mind at the last minute.

Grayson is more consistent in voting with his party, but some Democrats worry he’s become unelectable.

“Grayson has stepped on his foot here a few times and I don’t think he has any way to get elected. Murphy has a better chance of winning,” said Joe Wells, 84, or Cape Coral. “He’s a little steadier and a little less bombastic and still favorable to my issues.”

Last week, the mother of Grayson’s five children shared four police reports with Politico. In them, Lolita Carson-Grayson told police that Grayson abused her, but none of the claims led to any charges over the years. Grayson countered that he never hit her, and accused her of abusing him and their children.

The couple’s 25-year marriage was annulled last year after it was discovered that she was already married when they wed.

“Voters actually can discern truth from fiction,” Grayson said. “They’ll see through it.”

Grayson has ignored Reid’s latest call for him to quit. Reid made the same request after the House Ethics Committee in April found “substantial reason to believe” Grayson violated federal law and House rules in a number of business and legal activities and in managing his congressional office. Part of that investigation involves an offshore hedge fund managed by Grayson.

The calls for Grayson to drop out have made an impression on Robert Valdez, 20, of Palm Beach Gardens.

“I don’t think he can bring the leadership that Patrick can bring,” Valdez said. “He’ll be a wonderful senator.”

But the terrible headlines haven’t scared off all of Grayson’s supporters.

“We need a long time progressive, someone who’s stood up for many, many years and not someone who jumped on a bandwagon to win an election,” said Tiffany Barnes, 34, of Wakulla County, just south of Tallahassee.

Barnes said she has worked with domestic abuse organizations, knows how women respond to abuse, and doubts Carson-Grayson’s claims.

“It looks more like a political stunt than a woman crying out for help,” she said.

LaVon Bracy, 67, of Orlando, said she used to live around the corner from Grayson and visited the house many times. She knows Carson-Grayson and their children, and said she doesn’t believe the abuse allegations.

“I know him personally, I’ve seen what he’s done for this area, he’s been a great advocate and he’s been a longtime Democrat,” Bracy said. “Murphy, he’s been a Republican most of his life.”

Grayson has aired television and radio ads since November, but in limited buys. Murphy began airing an ad two weeks ago featuring Obama, but hasn’t saturated the state. Both have sought free media coverage.

Murphy is campaigning as if he’s already won the nomination. He canceled the primary’s only scheduled debate, citing the abuse allegations, and has focused his attacks on Rubio.

“Marco Rubio, to me, encompasses everything that’s wrong with Washington, D.C.,” Murphy said. “Florida wants someone who’s going to show up, who’s going to work, who wants the job.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Poll: Marco Rubio has double-digit lead over Patrick Murphy

Marco Rubio is poised to win re-election, according to a new Suffolk University poll.

The survey showed Rubio is walloping Republican Carlos Beruff, with 62 percent of likely Republican voters saying they were leaning toward voting for Rubio in the primary. About 12 percent of respondents said they would vote for Beruff, while nearly 24 percent of voters polled said they were undecided.

The lead over Beruff is unsurprising. Since announcing his re-election bid in June, Rubio has been considered the front-runner in the Republican primary. He’s been racking up endorsements, and has the backing of establishment Republicans.

And when it comes to the general election, Rubio maintains that double-digit lead over both Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

According to the poll, 46 percent of respondents said they would pick Rubio in November, while 33 percent said they would vote for Murphy. About 19 percent of likely Florida voters polled said they were undecided.

In a match-up between Rubio and Grayson, Rubio would receive 45 percent of the vote, while Grayson would receive 31 percent. About 22 percent of likely voters said they were undecided.

The seat has become one of the most-watched Senate races in the country. Outside groups are prepared to spend millions of dollars on the race, and Republicans have said Florida is critical to keeping control of the Senate.

The survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Aug. 1 through Aug. 3. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.


Mitch Perry Report for 8.4.16 — Patrick Murphy shuts down the debate

Well, so much for the free flow of ideas inside the Florida Democratic Party.

Patrick Murphy announced yesterday he would not engage in any debates with Alan Grayson or Pam Keith in advance of the Aug. 30 Senate primary election, citing allegations of domestic abuse charged by Grayson’s ex-wife last week.

“Over the last week, I have heard from many people, including survivors of domestic abuse, that Alan Grayson’s continued presence in this race is an insult to the countless Floridians whose lives have been affected by this kind of violence,” Murphy said in a statement.

“Alan Grayson has refused to address these issues,” he continued. “Alan Grayson’s words and actions have disqualified him from public service, and I cannot in good conscience give him a platform to promote himself and his campaign. As a result, I will not participate in any forums or debates with Alan Grayson.”

Shortly after that statement was released, Grayson DID address the issue extensively, as reported by the Miami Herald’s Amy Sherman.

Concurrently, some of Murphy’s supporters, like state Rep. Audrey Gibson and recently elected state Sen. Lauren Book, issued statements backing their candidate’s decision to bow out against Grayson because of the allegations.

Grayson’s campaign manager, Michael Ceraso, accused Murphy of exploiting “this very personal family struggle for his own political gain,” adding, “while Patrick has actually been caught lying about himself and what he’s done, Alan has discussed these and any other allegations openly with the press.”

It should be noted Murphy previously had refused to participate in debates proposed by Florida Public radio stations WMFE, WLRN and WUSF, as well as a combined effort by Bay News 9/News 13 in Orlando. He had finally agreed to do one — and only one — debate on WFTV-TV Channel 9 in Orlando.

In a statement, WFTV Executive Producer Anthony Colarossi said: “the voters of Florida are the big losers here as they will be deprived the chance to hear Mr. Murphy and Mr. Grayson share their vision of Florida’s future.”

Now I know that the entirety of Florida and D.C. is rooting for Murphy to be the nominee to take on Marco Rubio this fall, but wouldn’t it better for all involved to have the Jupiter representative get a little debate practice in, if nothing else, before he steps in the ring with Rubio in a few months?

It seems those hurt by this are undecided Florida Democratic electorate who would like to see and hear the two candidates debate the issues straight up. But that’s apparently not going to happen.

In other news …

Talk about an unwanted endorsement: In Florida’s liberal Senate District 19 race, the NRA is sending out mailers telling voters to support Darryl Rouson in that contest.

The Senate District 19 Democratic primary is getting more heated by the day, as Ed Narain and Augie Ribeiro exchanged their thoughts about each other.

St. Pete Polls released three big statewide surveys yesterday: One shows Patrick Murphy with a big edge over Alan Grayson in the Democratic Senate race — one of the few head-to-head surveys of the two main candidates this summer.

It also shows Democrats are pretty focused on the presidential and Senate races, if they’re paying attention at all, because when asked who they like for governor, 38 percent chose Charlie Crist.

Meanwhile, Amendment 4, the solar power amendment on this August’s primary ballot, is winning big.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman isn’t keen on the Public Transportation Commission raising the fees on Uber and Lyft drivers operating outside of the PTC’s jurisdiction.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee blasted a number of House Republican candidates for being silent on the whole Trump/Khan family controversy, but David Jolly did issue a statement over the weekend.

Patrick Murphy says he won’t participate in debates with Alan Grayson

Patrick Murphy will not participate in any forums or debates with Alan Grayson amid allegations of domestic violence.

The announcement came as Grayson and Democrat Pam Keith held a press conference at the Palm Beach County Courthouse to call for more debates in the U.S. Senate race.

“Over the last week, I have heard from many people, including survivors of domestic abuse, that Alan Grayson’s continued presence in this race is an insult to the countless Floridians whose lives have been affected by this kind of violence,” said the Treasure Coast Democrat said in a statement. “When a survivor of domestic abuse comes forward, we owe it to them to listen with an open heart.”

POLITICO reported last week that Grayson’s “ex-wife repeatedly went to the police with accusations of domestic abuse.” The accusations, POLITICO reported, were over a two-decade period. Grayson denied those allegations.

In the days following the POLITICO report, Grayson lost a few of his most prominent endorsers. According to the Tampa Bay Times,, a nationally known progressive organization, is withholding an endorsement in the race in light of the allegations.

“Alan Grayson has refused to address these issues. Alan Grayson’s words have disqualified him from public service, and I cannot in good conscience give him a platform to promote himself and his campaign,” said Murphy. “As result, I will not participate in any forums or debates with Alan Grayson.”

Michael Ceraso, Grayson’s campaign manager, said Murphy was “exploiting this very personal family struggle for his own political gain.”

“Alan Grayson, like all of us, is a flawed individual. But he’s always been driven to help as many people as he can, especially the most vulnerable,” he said in a statement. “The media, in its attempt to cover his often-controversial style, hasn’t always been able to draw a complete picture of the man. Whether it is these allegations, or just his record of legislative accomplishment, the whole story isn’t being told.”

Ceraso said Grayson has discussed “these allegations and any other allegations openly with the press,” and would continue to do so for the rest of the campaign.

The two men were scheduled to participate in a debate Aug. 12. The debate, hosted by Channel 9 Eyewitness News, would have been the sole televised debate between the two men before the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

Murphy’s campaign did not agree to a debate hosted by WFME, a public radio station Central Florida. That decision prompted the press conference with Grayson and Keith, who were expected to call for more debates.

Ceraso said Keith was “unequivocal” about her willingness to debate Grayson alone or with Murphy.

“Perhaps Patrick Murphy has an issue debating with anyone in this primary, whether it’s Alan Grayson, or the only woman in the race,” he said.

Victims’ advocates were quick to support Murphy’s decision.

“With printed in black and white domestic abuse allegations against Alan Grayson, Patrick Murphy’s decision to pull the plug on a debate planned before this horrid news broke, is the right decision,” said state Sen. Audrey Gibson. “There should be no place on a platform designed to enlighten voters, for that which could potentially further victimize survivors of domestic abuse.”

Victims’ advocates were quick to support Murphy’s decision. In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Kristin Jacobs said the documented claims against Grayson “coupled with his recent statements — namely calling his longtime wife a ‘gold digger’ — disqualify him as a serious candidate.”

“Patrick Murphy’s decision to not give a platform that would legitimize Grayson’s candidacy was a good one and I support him in this,” said Jacobs, who escaped an abusive relationship after 10 years, in a statement. “Grayson’s repeated public statements amount to public bullying and in my opinion disqualify him from serving.”

Lauren Book, an activist who recently won her state Senate race, also said she supported Murphy’s decision, saying “domestic abuse and public bullying has no place in politics.”

“Rep. Grayson has repeatedly attempted to silence his ex-wife’s voice and has engaged in a public shaming campaign in his attempt to discredit her. While we do not know the specific facts behind her allegations during his lengthy marriage, we do know that Rep. Grayson’s attempts to publicly shame his ex-wife of 20 years are disgusting and outrageous,” said Book in a statement. “We need to stand unified against this kind of public bullying and unacceptable behavior from a sitting member of Congress. Grayson needs to end his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.”

New poll has Patrick Murphy up big over Alan Grayson, 45%-20%

Patrick Murphy has a substantial lead over Alan Grayson in the race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida, a new poll released on Wednesday shows.

The St. Pete Polls survey of 1,807 Democrats statewide shows Murphy with 45 percent, Grayson at 20 percent, and Pam Keith at 7 percent.

The survey also shows that 14 percent prefer another candidate, and another 14 percent are undecided.

The poll is the first to be released since the Grayson campaign was rocked by a POLITICO report about domestic-abuse claims by his ex-wife, which resulted in the exit of his political director and three field staffers. Two liberal groups, Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, also withdrew their endorsements of the Orlando-area Congressman.

Grayson has forcefully denied the allegations and has accused his ex-wife of fabricating the entire episode.

There hasn’t been much public polling on the Democratic Senate race at all this summer, with most surveys matching Murphy and/or Grayson up against the likely Republican nominee, incumbent Marco Rubio.

Murphy has also had a difficult time in the press this summer, with a Miami television report questioning his resume and business experience. But those issues seem to pale in comparison to the revelations about Grayson.

The poll robocalled 1,807 likely Democratic primary voters on Tuesday, August 2, 2016. It has a 2.3% margin of error at a 95% confidence level.

Some candidates have questioned St. Pete Polls surveys, because it does not include cell phones in its polls. The survey did poll only Democrats who voted in the 2012 and 2014 primary elections.

Patrick Murphy releases new ad blasting Marco Rubio’s Senate attendance record

Florida Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is blasting Marco Rubio in a new ad that hits at the GOP incumbent’s attendance record in the U.S. Senate.

Rubio’s record of missing votes became an issue while he was running for president earlier this year. And the Tampa Bay Times reported last month he also has a poor record of attending classified Intelligence Meetings as well, missing 20 of 23 such events.

The new ad attacks Rubio for missing a specific vote he boasted about in an ad for his campaign that was released on his behalf last week. The ad said that “Rubio wrote the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever passed.”

“Wait a minute,” the narrator interrupts. “Marco Rubio didn’t show up for that vote.”

The Murphy campaign then provides a link to The Congressional Record showing that Rubio did not participate in a vote on sanctioning the Middle Eastern terrorist group on Nov. 17, 2015.

“On the issues that matter to Florida, Marco Rubio has been consistently absent,” said Murphy Campaign Spokeswoman Galia Slayen. “When national security votes came before the Senate, Rubio missed them and when key foreign policy issues came before Senate committees, Rubio didn’t attend. Floridians deserve a senator who stands up every day for their safety and security. Marco Rubio is not that senator and it’s embarrassing that he is touting a bill that he didn’t even show up to vote for.”

Rubio is currently being challenged by Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff for the Republican nomination for Senate. Beruff has also attempted to bring down Rubio on the attendance issue, but hasn’t broken through yet in the polls.

Murphy is running against congressman Alan Grayson and Navy Officer JAG and labor attorney Pam Keith in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary contest.

In response, a spokesman for the Rubio campaign pooh-poohed Murphy’s ad.

“Patrick Murphy has never accomplished anything in his life, and now he’s lying about Marco’s strong record of fighting to keep America safe.” said Michael Ahrens, a Rubio campaign spokesman. “Marco’s work to put tough sanctions on Hezbollah was met with strong bipartisan support and passed unanimously. Actually getting results in Congress is something Patrick Murphy knows nothing about. Floridians can’t trust Patrick Murphy and they won’t fall for these false attacks.”

And Ahrens said that there wasn’t event a roll call vote in the Senate like the ad claims. “It passed by unanimous consent,” he writes in an e-mail.


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