At this point, Alan Grayson isn’t surprised that yet another Democrat has endorsed Patrick Murphy in the battle for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida, even if it’s the much lauded Bob Graham.
“If you take a look at the polling for those who pitted his daughter against me and Patrick, his daughter came in a very, very poor third in that hypothetical race, so I don’t think that a lot of voters would be influenced by that at all,” Grayson says.
That was a reference to a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon last summer that had Gwen Graham, the first-term Representative from Tallahassee and daughter of the beloved Democratic icon, a distant third to Murphy and Grayson in a three-way Democratic race for Senate.
“The establishment endorses the establishment,” is Grayson’s response to the cavalcade of prominent Democrats who have come out in support of Murphy, the second-term Representative from Jupiter, over his own candidacy.
Graham joins most of the Florida Democratic establishment in endorsing Murphy. His supports goes much deeper than Florida though, with President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also backing him. In fact, Reid called on Grayson to step down from the Senate race amid scrutiny surrounding his hedge fund last month.
“We have a situation where Patrick has the best endorsements that money can buy,” Grayson charges. “We have many, many, many cases now of Patrick buying his endorsements, and corrupting the political system. In much the same way that he’s been corrupted by money…Patrick’s vote is for sale and he systematically tracks down other elected officials who endorsements are for sale.”
Grayson isn’t the only one making such charges.
Pam Keith, the North Palm Beach County-based attorney also running for the Democratic nomination for Senate, accused Murphy of last fall of “buying” the endorsements of Florida Democrats Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson.
And a conservative super PAC aimed at keeping the Senate in the hands of Republicans ripped Murphy last month, noting how the congressman’s super PAC had received a $50,000 contribution from a company associated with Nicholas Mastroianni II. Mastroianni is a major player with the EB-5 visa program, which essentially allows wealthy foreigners to buy U.S. citizenship by investing $500,000 in a project that creates U.S. jobs.
The Senate Leadership Fund noted how Murphy was one of only seven co-sponsors of a 2014 bill that would ease restrictions on EB-5 regional centers like the one Mastroianni runs.
“In other words, Murphy co-sponsored a bill that would directly benefit the business of someone who butters Patrick’s bread with major donations to his campaign and Super PAC,” the Senate Leadership Fund stated.
“You’ll find countless example of Patrick receiving a PAC check, from a PAC that was pushing legislation before Patrick’s committee before a vote, Patrick then voting in favor of that legislation that the PAC was pushing, and then Patrick receiving a thank you check afterwards,” Grayson says.
The perception from the Democratic establishment is that Murphy can win a statewide seat, while Grayson can’t. Grayson says that’s the same mindset that has the Democratic Party donors strongly backing Hillary Clinton for president, over Bernie Sanders, who he’s supporting.
“Poll after poll – including the Quinnipiac poll – show me winning against most of the Republican opponents,” Grayson says. “Our own internal polls shows me winning against every Republican opponent. This is simply not a situation where one candidate can win the November election and the other can’t. That is not the situation. Using the same kind of ploys nationally, if you look at the actual polling data, you’ll find that despite the fact that the party establishment is putting it out there that Secretary Clinton would be a stronger candidate in November. Senator Sanders not only runs better than Secretary Clinton against all three remaining Republican opponents…he runs six points better.”
Grayson has led most, but not all the early polls on the Democratic race for senate. A Univision/Washington Post survey released earlier this month had Murphy up, 36 percent to 29 percent.
The Murphy campaign declined to comment.