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Florida Progressives Reject Patrick Murphy As Senate Candidate

Patrick Murphy for Congress campaign

As U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy starts his run for a senate seat this election cycle, some of the more progressive-leaning Democrats in Florida see him as an elephant in mule’s clothing. Florida progressives met to discuss what to do about the so-called “Wall-Street Democrat.”

Centrists tend to catch the ire of people sitting at both ends of the great political pendulum. Florida Congressman Patrick Murphy announced he’d be running for the U.S. senate when Marco Rubio vacates his seat for the white house. But, Florida progressives aren’t on board.

Ernest Ciarrocchi, the secretary for the South Shore Democrats, puts it bluntly.

“We all know that the US Chamber of Commerce is not a group that endorses real democrats,” Ciarrocchi said. “Patrick Murphy has done everything he can to send a message that he’s not one of us.”

Progressives say there’s a disconnect between Democrats in Washington and those at home, with the former telling the latter to vote Murphy into a Senate seat. Frank Day, a member of the Democratic Progressive Committee, reads off what he sees as Murphy’s shortcomings.

“I guess they want us to forget that Murphy has said cuts to social security benefits should be on the table, that he supports the Bowles Simpson amendment, that he voted to delay implementation of a key provision of Dodd/Frank, that he supported de-regulation of wall street banks, that he supports the keystone pipeline, that he’s voted against clean energy, and supported undermining clean air act protections, and wanted to extend the Bush tax cuts,” Day says.

Day says Murphy won’t be getting his vote. Some of the Democratic progressives say they’re willing to support Congressman Alan Grayson, should he run, as rumored.

“In terms of viability, a bold progressive named Alan Grayson, who the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus currently embrace as our preferred choice, could match Murphy’s fundraising, and far outpace him in passion, and boldness, and policy understanding,” Day says.

But, according to a recent Swing State poll from Quinnipiac University, not only does Murphy have a four point lead over Grayson, but the state’s current CFO, Jeff Atwater, outshines them both, holding a four point lead over Murphy and 10 points over Grayson.

Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown says it’s still too early to tell.

“Mr. Atwater may have a small advantage,” Brown said, “But it’s small, and we have a long way to go before November of 2016.”

And that’s assuming Rubio even decides to run for president. Brown says Rubio might run for Senate again, and until he announces his intentions, all the progressive side of the Florida Democratic Party can do is cover its bases.

Matthew Seeger began his work in radio in 2012, during an internship he took with WUSF in Tampa. He went on to volunteer at 89.7 FM “The Voice” for several years as a news anchor and production assistant. He began working with the WFSU news team in January of 2015. In addition to reporting the news, Matt is a voice actor, having recorded and produced several creative audio pieces, as well as his own series for V89’s Vox Populi program called “Tales from Hell Creek,”-- a series of slice-of-life vignettes about dinosaurs.