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Democratic Super PAC to Air First Ever Senate Primary Ads in Florida

Image: Democratic Super PAC to Air First Ever Senate Primary Ads in Florida
Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla. (AP Images)

By    |   Friday, 15 Jul 2016 12:18 PM

A Democratic super PAC will jump into the Florida Senate primary, airing ads next week to back an establishment favorite and marking its first such intervention.

Senate Majority PAC, founded by former staffers of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, told The Washington Post they plan a $1 million ad campaign to help Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is competing with fellow Rep. Alan Grayson for the Democratic slot.

Grayson attracted controversy over possible congressional ethics violations last year because he was managing an offshore hedge fund. Reid has since pushed for Grayson to drop out of the Senate race, while Grayson closed the Cayman Islands fund office and took steps to distance himself from the operation, according to The New York Times.

In May, Grayson confronted Reid about negative statements he had made about Grayson during  a House Democratic caucus meeting. Grayson read a list of accusations Reid had made before saying: "These are false, and I want to know why you said it."

"It is true and I want you to lose," Reid replied, according to The Huffington Post.

Democrats need to pick up four Senate seats to gain a majority, and party leaders are hopeful that Florida will deliver one. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is polling ahead of Donald Trump, her presumed rival, in the Sunshine State, and President Barack Obama won Florida in both previous presidential elections.

Republicans are fortunate that incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star of the party, reversed course and announced last month that he would seek reelection. Despite a GOP challenger in businessman Carlos Beruff, Rubio is currently the favorite to win the primary.

Real Clear Politics poll shows Rubio has on average a 4.4 point lead over Murphy in the Democratic primary race. Politico reported on Thursday that a new poll has Rubio leading both Murphy and Grayson.

"Democrats made fun of Sen. Marco Rubio when he opted for a last-minute re-election bid in Florida, but he may be on the way to a last laugh, having quickly opened double digit leads over both Democratic challengers," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, told Politico.

A pro-Rubio super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, already spent $1.5 million on an ad campaign attacking Murphy's work background, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

While national intervention in party state primaries is rare, Republicans plowed large amounts of money into supporting Rep. Todd Young of Indiana, who faced trouble in his Republican Senate primary earlier this year.

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A Democratic super PAC will jump into the Florida Senate primary, airing ads next week to back an establishment favorite and marking its first such intervention.
Democrats, Super PAC, Ads, Florida, Senate, Primary
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2016-18-15
Friday, 15 Jul 2016 12:18 PM
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