Former Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith and former Sen. Nan Rich were among a handful of state Dems who rebuked U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson Monday for harsh comments he made against Senate rival U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy last week.
Grayson went in on Murphy at a meeting of the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee – Murphy’s home county party – last Thursday.
Besides going on what eyewitness accounts said was a “tirade” against Murphy, Grayson repeated his refusal to support Murphy for the Senate seat vacated by Marco Rubio should Murphy win the nomination.
“Listen, Patrick’s done some very vicious things to me in this campaign. Now, I’m not looking for your sympathy. Politics is politics,” said Grayson on Thursday.
“But when you do what Patrick’s done to directly attack me personally you can’t seriously expect that that means I’m going to fall into line. I’m not a puppet. I’m not somebody on string,” said Grayson, invoking a famous speech from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in which Shylock asks rhetorically, “if you prick us, do we not bleed?”
“And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” the monologue continues.
Rod Smith said he was “deeply disappointed” in a statement rebuffing Grayson’s remarks, which he said “undermines” loyalty to the party and its efforts in 2016.
“The Democratic Party’s proud tradition of vigorous and healthy primaries is matched by our consistent support for our Party’s nominees. Any Democrat running for office should be willing to endorse the winner of the primary. What Mr. Grayson suggests would do nothing but hurt Democrats and help Republicans,” said Smith.
Nan Rich – who endorsed her 2014 gubernatorial rival Charlie Crist within two days of losing a heated primary in August last year – also took a shot at Grayson, who polls indicate has led early in the race for the Democratic nod.
“The only chance Democrats have to win statewide elections in Florida is for all of us to unify around our party’s standard bearers — the winners of our primary elections. That especially applies to every other candidate who ran in the primary election.
“That’s why, despite the many differences there were between Charlie Crist and me on the campaign trail, I stood with him at a unity rally and endorsed him immediately after the primary election,” said Rich.
Sitting state legislative Democrats Rep. Shevrin Jones and House minority leader-to-be Janet Cruz also signed on to the call for party unity.