Ex-senator endorses Murphy over Grayson

Ex-senator endorses Murphy over Grayson

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) on Monday endorsed Rep. Patrick Murphy over Rep. Alan GraysonAlan GraysonThe Hill's 12:30 Report Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog Could bipartisanship rise with Trump government? MORE for the Democratic nomination in the race for the open Florida Senate seat.

Graham, also a former governor of Florida, pointed to Murphy’s “strong democratic values” as a reason he should win the seat being vacated by former GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioOvernight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? Boeing must be stopped from doing business with Iran MORE.

“As Florida’s Governor and as a U.S. Senator, I worked hard every day to grow our middle class, protect our workers, and fight for our seniors,” Graham said in a statement. “Patrick has the right priorities and I’m proud to support him as Florida’s next Senator.”

Murphy and Grayson are in a heated primary campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Graham’s endorsement gives Murphy a major boost as the party’s establishment continues to rally around him. President Obama and Vice President Biden recently threw their support behind Murphy.

Grayson is under fire for continuing to run a hedge fund while in Congress. Top campaign staffers, who have since departed, suggested last year that he close the account, but the liberal firebrand pushed back on the advice, according to emails obtained by The New York Times.

The heightened buzz around the fund prompted Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) to call on Grayson to drop out of the race. But Grayson called the reports about his hedge fund “misleading statements” and “outright lies.”

Murphy has significantly outpaced Grayson in fundraising, but a Public Policy Polling survey from earlier this month found Grayson leading Murphy by double digits, though nearly half of voters are undecided.