In a major victory for President Barack Obama on Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced her support for the Iran nuclear deal, providing the White House the votes it needs to prevent Republicans from scuttling the agreement.
That hardly means the move is popular with the public, at least here in Florida. According to a Quinnipiac survey released this past week, 61 percent of Floridians oppose the deal, as does every Republican in the Florida congressional delegation. Some Democrats do as well, such as South Florida U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings.
After Jupiter Congressman and Senate candidate Patrick Murphy announced his support for the deal on Monday, he earned the scorn of Republicans throughout the state, including Pinellas County U.S. Rep. and GOP Senate candidate David Jolly, who could potentially square off against Murphy in next year’s U.S. Senate race.
“Patrick Murphy made the wrong decision on this one,” Jolly said Wednesday after appearing at a news conference at Tampa International Airport. “I’ve opposed the deal because it creates a nuclear pathway and enriches Iran, and I don’t think we have the intelligence resources to monitor the deal.”
Jolly said that he was also “somewhat surprised” by Murphy’s vote, but added that he’s been surprised by “a lot of Democrats” who said have voted along party lines in supporting the deal worked on by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. To date, only two Democratic senators – New York’s Chuck Schumer and New Jersey’s Bob Menendez – have come out to oppose it so far.
One Democrat who hasn’t announced how he’s going to vote on the issue is Orlando U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who is another potential Jolly opponent in next year’s Senate race. Grayson has said he won’t make a decision until the time to vote approaches. Congress is scheduled to vote on the issue by Sept. 17.
“There’s a lot of people who have not made the decision yet,” Jolly said. “Look, we get elected to make tough decisions. And I think one of the bigger questions is to ask questions (on) who’s actually read the deal? Because that gets recorded down in the Intelligence rooms of the basement of the Capitol. It took me eight or nine days to make a formal announcement, because I wanted to take time to read the actual classified portion of the deal. I oppose the deal. I think every member of the Florida delegation should oppose it. Those who don’t should make their intentions known to the voters.”
South Florida U.S. Rep. and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has also opted not to weigh in on a decision as of midafternoon Wednesday.
A couple of hours after Jolly spoke with Florida Politics about the Iran deal, his campaign released a video and an online petition asking supporters to oppose the nuclear agreement.