Jewish Congressman Jumps Into Race to Claim Rubio’s Senate Seat


Alan GraysonOne candidate competing for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s US Senate race is a prolific fundraiser whose relatively centrist views have made him a favorite with the party establishment.

The other is an outspoken, colorful, unabashed liberal who brags that his supporters would be willing to “crawl naked over hot coals” to vote for him.

The contrast will shape what will likely be one of the nastiest primaries of the 2016 election cycle. US Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Florida), the more moderate candidate, is facing off against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida), who entered the race this week.

“There is enormous enthusiasm for this candidacy,” Grayson told Business Insider in a phone conversation on Thursday. “Voters will crawl naked over hot coals to vote for me. And that’s something that no other candidate in either party can say.”

Democrats had hoped to avoid such a scenario. Murphy entered the race early, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly threw its support behind him — a move that was widely viewed as a hint for Grayson to stay away. When Grayson entered the race on Thursday, the DSCC issued a statement praising Murphy without mentioning Grayson’s name.

Democrats hoped that Murphy would be able to sail along while attention would be focused on what one Democratic operative says is shaping up to be a “bloody” Republican primary itself. Florida is a key pickup opportunity for Democrats, as US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) opted to run for president instead of re-election.

Instead, Democrats might be even more openly combative — and Republicans are giddy.

“Grayson is actually far more reflective of today’s Democratic base vote than he’s given credit for, which explains why so many are apparently willing to crawl over hot coals naked for him. The joint Sanders/Grayson events in Florida will be something,” one national Republican operative told Business Insider, referring to Democratic presidential candidate and US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Grayson has made no qualms about bludgeoning his opponent in public. He calls Murphy a closet Republican. In fairness, he was a registered Republican — even donating $2,300 to Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign — until months before he announced his 2012 campaign for Congress.