© Greg Nash
The fiscally conservative group Club for Growth is already meddling in the Florida Democratic Senate primary.
The group announced Tuesday it will release a 30-second ad to run on MSNBC and other outlets across Florida supporting liberal Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonDeSantis tops Crist, Fried in poll of Florida governor race Florida Rep. Val Demings officially enters Senate race against Rubio Demings raises Democrats' hopes in uphill fight to defeat Rubio MORE’s (D-Fla.) opposition to the Export-Import Bank, while calling out Rep. Patrick MurphyPatrick Erin MurphyFormer Cambodian prime minister Norodom Ranariddh dies at 77 US condemns teen's jailing in Cambodia over social media posts What happened to Marco Rubio, Time mag's 'Republican Savior' of 2013? MORE (D-Fla.) for supporting the institution.
“Two Florida Democrats in Congress with very different views,” the ad states. “Alan Grayson opposes the Export-Import Bank, which spends billions of tax dollars on a handful of giant corporations. Patrick Murphy supports the Ex-Im Bank and wants to funnel billions more to corporate fat cats.
“Congress will soon vote," the ad continues. "Tell your Democratic members of Congress to side with Grayson, not Murphy, and stop the Export-Import Bank’s outrageous corporate giveaways.”
Murphy, so far, is the only Democrat running for the seat Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is vacating to run for president. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is backing Murphy’s bid, and the Democratic establishment in Florida has lined up en masse behind the centrist lawmaker.
Grayson, meanwhile, says he’s still considering running for Senate, and he’s getting pushed by some progressives in the state to move forward.
However, many Florida Democrats want Grayson as far away from the race as possible, fearing the brash and controversial lawmaker will draw unwanted headlines and drag the party through a brutal primary.
Murphy’s campaign manager Josh Wolf said the Club for Growth ad was evidence Republicans are nervous about his candidacy.
“The fact that an ultra-right-wing Super PAC that aims to privatize Social Security is attacking Patrick is the clearest sign that he's the strongest candidate in this race,” Wolf said in a statement.
“Patrick entered public office to fight back against Tea Party obstructionists like the Club for Growth who are intent on outsourcing Florida jobs overseas and privatizing Social Security and Medicare."
The Club for Growth has been aggressive in going after Republican incumbents who support renewing the Export-Import Bank.
The conservative group has already released ads targeting Republican Reps. Bill Shuster (Pa.) and David McKinley (W.Va.) as part of a $1 million campaign to end the bank.
Republicans are divided on whether to renew the bank’s charter when it expires at the end of June.
Florida is expected to have one of the closest Senate battles in 2016. If Republicans can hold the seat, it will go a long way to helping them preserve their newly won majority.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (Fla.), a conservative lawmaker with Tea Party credibility, is so far the only declared candidate on the GOP side. However, Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera (R-Fla.) is expected to get in soon, and a handful of other House Republicans are believed to be mulling bids.
— This story was updated at 9:35 a.m. A previous version said Club for Growth ran ads against Reps. Rob Bishop (Utah) and Chris Stewart (Utah). The Club for Growth pulled those ads after Bishop and Stewart announced their opposition to the Export-Import Bank.