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 Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message 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 RubioGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power McConnell pushes back on Trump: 'There will be an orderly transition' Graham vows GOP will accept election results after Trump comments 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.”

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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 Mason ReidThe Supreme Court vacancy — yet another congressional food fight Trump seeks to turn around campaign with Supreme Court fight On The Trail: Battle over Ginsburg replacement threatens to break Senate 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.