The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy for Senate Monday, perhaps trying to head off a primary as a second candidate prepares to enter the race.
Murphy announced his candidacy last month for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. With his fundraising prowess and proven ability to win in a swing district, he has long been perceived as the favorite of national Democrats. “Patrick Murphy is one of our party’s most promising rising stars, and his track record of fighting for Florida’s working families, seniors, and the environment make him the strongest candidate to win the Florida Senate race and flip this seat,” DSCC Chairman Jon Tester said in a statement.
The endorsement comes as another Democrat, Rep. Alan Grayson, ponders getting into the race. Grayson said May 1 on “The Alan Colmes Show” that his decision would come in the next 30 days.
“We are doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that,” Grayson told CQ Roll Call last week outside the House chamber.
Grayson’s entrance into the race would be unwelcome news for many Democrats hoping to take the Senate seat. With it now open because Rubio is running for president, a number of Republicans are considering jumping into the field, and Democrats hope there will be a competitive primary that leaves the Republican nominee bruised when the general election arrives.
But if Grayson gets in, Democrats could be facing the same problem. One of the party’s most outspoken progressives, Grayson would run to Murphy’s left, potentially forcing the centrist congressman to take positions that would be more palatable in a Democratic primary, but could hurt him in a general election.
National Democrats, presumably, would like Grayson to stay out of the race. Democrats say Murphy would be the far stronger candidate, with a centrist record that would be more appealing in a purple state in a general election.
The race is rated Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
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