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 GraysonPennsylania Dems file ethics complaint against Rep. Barletta The Hill's 12:30 Report Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog 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 Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers 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 ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial 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.