Alan Grayson Archives - Page 4 of 35 - SaintPetersBlog

Marco Rubio on Donald Trump: First a con man, now better than Hillary Clinton

A dangerous, erratic, con man with the worst spray tan ever. That’s how Sen. Marco Rubio described Donald Trump when they were both seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Now that Trump is the nominee and Rubio is running for re-election, his tone is different. He’s no longer criticizing Trump, but he isn’t exactly gushing praise. Democrats are trying to make him look like a hypocrite for backing the man he previously said shouldn’t have access to nuclear weapon codes, and for jumping back into the Senate race after he said he wouldn’t.

“Sen. Rubio is actually the real con man here,” said U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson for the Democratic nomination. “He said something to the effect of, ‘Ten thousand times, I’m telling you I’m not going to run for the Senate again.’ Well guess what? He’s running for the Senate again.”

But don’t ask Rubio to reconcile supporting Trump with his past criticism.

“We’ve gone through that a million times,” Rubio said at a campaign stop at a Tallahassee restaurant. “At this point we’re just going to continue to focus on my race and leave the past in the past.”

Last month in Panama City, Rubio said he is supporting Trump because he pledged early in the campaign to support the Republican nominee.

“There are only two people in the world that are going to be president of the United States in 2017,” Rubio said. “It will either be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And It can’t be Hillary Clinton.”

Leaving his remarks in the past isn’t something his opponents are willing to do. Republican developer Carlos Beruff often criticizes Rubio for not enthusiastically supporting Trump, and Murphy and Grayson are calling him out for his hypocrisy.

Grayson described the relationship between Trump and Rubio by quoting late New York Yankees manager Billy Martin, who once said of late team owner George Steinbrenner and star outfielder Reggie Jackson: “The two of them deserve each other. One’s a born liar and the other’s convicted.” (Steinbrenner had pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon‘s campaign.)

“That’s sort of how I feel about watching the love/hate fest between Marco Rubio and Donald Trump,” Grayson said.

Beruff, who has spent $8 million of his own money in the Republican primary, has repeatedly criticized Rubio for not doing more to support Trump.

“There are some people who don’t like the tepid response that Rubio has shown to Trump,” Beruff said. “There’s a loyalty there.”

Beruff’s effort doesn’t appear to be working: He’s far behind Rubio in the polls just a week away from the Aug. 30 primary.

Republicans say it’s a matter of forgiving and forgetting, despite Rubio making fun of Trump’s small hands, suggesting the billionaire wet his pants during a debate and mocking his Twitter misspellings at a campaign rally.

Wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap to show support for Trump, Republican Bob Bezick, 64, of Madison said after attending Rubio’s Tallahassee event that he didn’t appreciate the back and forth between Rubio and Trump. But it won’t stop him from backing Rubio.

“It’s policies more than any of the chatter. All that stuff is just noise,” Bezick said.

And despite the not-so-cozy relationship between Rubio and Trump, Republicans say they won’t vote for Murphy or Grayson.

“That would be an extreme example of cutting off your nose to spite your face,” said Orange County Republican Party Chairman Lew Oliver.

If anything, Oliver said, keeping his distance from Trump could help Rubio with independent voters or Democrats dissatisfied with their party’s nominee.

“Tactically, that’s not a bad maneuver from his perspective because he’s probably going to get the Republican votes regardless,” Oliver said.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Patrick Murphy campaign raised $1 million last month, has $4 million in bank

Today, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy announced raising $1 million in the pre-primary FEC reporting period with $4 million cash-on-hand for his U.S. Senate campaign.

That’s in addition to the $800,000 his campaign already has pre-paid for TV commercials this fall.

“I continue to be humbled by the Floridians across our state who are standing with me in this election,” Murphy stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “It’s clear that hardworking Florida families are ready for a senator who shows up and works hard for them. Together, we will fight to strengthen the middle class, protect a woman’s right to choose, and defend Social Security and Medicare for our seniors. This election is about Florida families and I am so proud to have so many supporting our campaign.”

The latest federal filings show him with $3,994,000 in the bank. That’s far better than his Aug. 30 Democratic U.S. Senate primary opponents. The Federal Election Commission has not yet posted Aug. 10 numbers for U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando. At the end of June he had $484,000. Miami lawyer Pam Keith had about $8,600 in the bank for the Aug. 10 report.

Keith and Murphy are celebrating some high-level endorsements this weekend. The Orlando Sentinel endorsed Murphy, rather than hometown candidate Grayson. The Miami Herald endorsed Keith.

Both papers, as have most others, endorsed incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican primary. Rubio reported having $4.6 million cash-on-hand on Aug. 10. The FEC also has not yet posted the latest numbers for Rubio’s Aug. 30 Republican U.S. Senate primary opponent Carlos Beruff. At the end of June, Beruff had $125,000 left. If Rubio and Murphy win their parties’ nominations, they’ll go forward from here about even in money.

“Our campaign continues to build momentum as we raise the resources we will need to defeat Marco Rubio,” said Murphy campaign manager Josh Wolf. “Patrick’s message is resonating strongly with Florida voters, and our campaign is well positioned to take on Marco Rubio in November.”

Mitch Perry Report for 8.19.16 — Herald makes surprise endorsement in Florida Senate primary

Donald Trump could earn a big PR move today. He’s scheduled to travel to Louisiana to visit the flood-ravaged areas. Meanwhile, President Obama enjoys the last days of his summer vacation, golfing with Larry David.

The Miami Herald is making a little news this morning. The paper’s editorial board is dismissing both Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson in their review of the Democratic U.S. Senate race, and is endorsing Pam Keith in the contest.

The paper acknowledges what has been evident for nearly a year now — that the Democratic Party decided a long time ago that Murphy was their man, the heck with what the voters might believe. “Stacking the deck against Rep. Grayson corrupts the process,” the editorial board says.

The paper also acknowledges the electoral realities for a Keith victory are, well, “slim to none.” But it makes a strong case for why she deserves serious consideration. The paper is also backing Marco Rubio in the GOP race.

Meanwhile, I was hoping for a little more illumination from Time magazine with their cover story out today, called, “How Trolls Are Ruining The Internet.” Nevertheless, it does attempt to try to understand why there’s so much hatred expressed by people on the internet and, surprise, some of these “trolls” are well-established professionals.

Speaking of the Senate race, Rubio is seizing on the U.S. State Department’s acknowledgment yesterday that its $400 million cash delivery to Iran earlier this year was contingent on the release of four American hostages.

“This administration has peddled one outright lie after another as it attempts to defend its disastrous nuclear deal with Iran,” the Florida senator said in a statement. His campaign also banged on Murphy for supporting the Iranian nuclear deal, something that you’ll see other Republicans use as a cudgel against Democrats leading up to November.

The nuclear deal has also become an issue in the South Florida Congressional race between Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who supported the deal. Though Canova has been running to DWS’s left on most policy issues, he’s been critical of her for supporting that deal.

In other news…

It’s not hyperbole at all to say that the Republican Party of Florida is one of the most effective political machines in the nation. So while there’s no doubt that although their “Leadership Victory Committee” announced yesterday they will do their best in this presidential year to get the vote out, it’s also noticeable about how none of the members of the committee bothered to express any comment about making sure Donald Trump wins the Sunshine State in November — which most political analysts say he has to do to win the White House.

A day after we reported on a mailer HD 60 candidate Jackie Toledo has issued vowing to crack down on “illegal aliens,” the Democrat in the race, David Singer, weighs in.

Patrick Murphy mocks Marco Rubio’s public support for Donald Trump in new web ad.

The Pinellas County Democratic Party pulled their request for a grant to beautify their party headquarters after the city council’s approval created an uproar.

Gwen Graham joined members of a super PAC affiliated with Planned Parenthood in calling for Congress to return back to Washington to pass a “clean” bill on Zika virus funding.

Hillsborough GOP Clerk of the Courts nominee Eric Seidel signed a “pledge” to run a clean campaign in the general election versus either Pat Frank or Kevin Beckner.

Pam Keith slams Congressional Black Caucus’ endorsement of Patrick Murphy for Senate

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) PAC is endorsing Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate, and Pam Keith isn’t impressed.

Murphy said he was proud to get the backing of the caucus Wednesday, saying, “In the Senate, I will fight for our progressive priorities, like fixing our broken criminal justice system, raising the minimum wage, and strengthening our middle class for hardworking families.

“All Floridians deserve the opportunity to succeed, and I will fight for our families every day in the U.S. Senate.”

It’s an important endorsement in a competitive Democratic primary race, where Murphy is running against Orlando area Congressman Alan Grayson and Pam Keith, a Miami-based lawyer and former naval officer who also happens to be African-American. She blasted the CBC’s endorsement of Murphy.

“The CBC is a PAC designed to help its members stay in office, not to help new candidates to get into Congress. Patrick Murphy, his PACs and his Parents and family have donated liberally to current members of the CBC to obtain their support,” she said in a statement.

“Therefore, this endorsement has nothing to do with the candidate best suited to represent African-American voters or who has an actual platform of ideas to address issues facing the African-American community, and has everything to do with the candidate best suited to financially assist CBC members in their own races. In that regard, Patrick Murphy’s personal wealth definitely leads the pack.”

This is not the first time that Keith has called out the CBC for supporting Murphy. Last fall, Keith claimed that Murphy had “bought” the endorsements of Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson, two of Florida’s three black members of Congress. “By buying Hastings and Frederica’s endorsements, Murphy effectively blocked me from getting any access to the Congressional Black Caucus,” she told FloridaPolitics in October. 

Keith made that charge by claiming that both lawmakers only endorsed Murphy because they received financial contributions indirectly from the Jupiter Representative, though either his political action committee or donations given by his parents, Thomas and Leslie Murphy.

Neither the CBC Black Caucus PAC nor Hastings or Wilson ever responded to those claims last year.

The CBC PAC says it works to promote African-American participation in the political process, increase the number of African-Americans in Congress, and support candidates who champion the issues that matter to the African-American community.

In today’s endorsement, CBC PAC Chairman Gregory Meeks from New York said that the group is endorsing Murphy “because we know that he will be a great Senator who shows up and works hard for Florida.

“I’ve worked with Patrick in the House and seen his passion on the issues that matter to Florida communities firsthand,” Meeks added. “Patrick is a leader who families can count on to fight for our progressive priorities. Floridians will be proud to call him their Senator and the CBC PAC is proud to endorse his campaign.”

Patrick Murphy gets League of Conservation Voters endorsement

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy won the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters in his race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday and vowed to focus on Everglades restoration and stopping the related algae blooms fouling Florida’s coasts.

Murphy and LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld spent much of the announcement, made in Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday, attacking Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s environmental record on issues ranging from climate change to water quality.

They said nothing about his Democratic primary opponents, notably U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson or Pam Keith, whom he’ll have to beat first in the Aug. 30 primary.

“The contrast to Sen. Rubio’s corporate polluter agenda could not be more stark,” Sittenfeld said, charging that Rubio has denied the basic science of client change and advocating for big polluters, and noting he has gotten a 6 percent score on LCV Action Fund’s scorecard.

“Florida is already suffering the impact of climate change, and we simply cannot afford to give Rubio another four years in the Senate before he decides to run for president again,” she said.

She called Murphy a “true friend of the environment.”

Murphy turned first to climate change, but then gave a long discourse on restoring the Everglades and addressing the algae blooms. He also called for diversifying Florida’s energy production portfolio with solar, wind and thermal, and opposing offshore drilling and fracking.

“The truth is, we don’t have 10, 15 years to get this right,” Murphy said. “Climate change is a real threat, and Florida is directly impacted. Almost every study shows that South Florida in particular and Miami specifically will be the most impacted city in the entire world. Floridians are already feeling this impact firsthand.”

Murphy declared a “moral obligation” to restore and preserve Florida’s environment and added, “Unlike Marco Rubio, I’m committing to showing up and fighting every day to protecting our environment in the U.S. Senate.”

For the algae bloom and the Everglades, Murphy talked about continuing to funnel billions of money into long-term plans to redirect water through Florida into the Everglades, as it was naturally 150 years ago.

“It is going to take a long time to get it back the way Mother Nature intended, but we have to keep looking into each of these solutions looking for funding and working with local, state and federal governments to get that done,” he said.

Rubio’s campaign was not immediately responding, but Grayson’s was, charging that Murphy has missed the mark on a few key environmental policies pushed by progressive Democrats, including claiming that Murphy had supported expansions of fracking and Gulf oil drilling.

“Patrick Murphy constantly teamed up with Republicans to force President Obama to approve Keystone XL, all while voting to expand fracking and Gulf oil drilling. Alan Grayson vocally opposed all three,” Grayson campaign manager Michael Ceraso stated in a news release Tuesday.

Joe Henderson: In Florida U.S. Senate race, it’s liar versus slacker

It won’t show up on the ballot this way, but the parameters of a likely November showdown between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy for a U.S. Senate seat are becoming clear.

Place your “X” for the liar or the slacker.

Rubio will try to win re-election by framing Murphy as a serial fibber who can’t be trusted.

Murphy will try for the upset by framing Rubio as someone who didn’t show up for work because he wasn’t interested in the job he was elected to do, and so he can’t be trusted.

First, there is the matter of the Aug. 30 primary where both candidates face challenges. They appear to have moved well past those skirmishes to the main event, though. The polls indicate that is a safe strategy at this late hour.

At a gathering Monday in Tampa, Murphy wasn’t drawing distinctions between himself and Alan Grayson, his primary opponent. As Mitch Perry of reported, it was all about Rubio – even though Murphy said, “We don’t take anything for granted.”

Oh yes, he does. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have followed that by saying, “Everyone I talk to, whether they’re Republican, Democrat or independent, tell me: Patrick, I want a senator who at least wants the job. Who at least wants to be there to solve our problems.”
In case anyone didn’t get that message, Murphy piled on and said of Rubio, “He’s in this because he wants to run for president again.”

It’s not a bad seed for Murphy to plant in voters’ minds. Rubio’s voting record in the Senate, along with his oft-voiced frustration about the job, is legit fodder for an opponent. As Murphy will repeatedly remind voters, Rubio at first said he wasn’t running for re-election but changed his mind a couple of months ago after Republicans begged him to get into the race.

Rubio’s camp quickly counter-punched Monday with a liar, liar, pants on fire missile.

“Patrick Murphy was caught lying about being a small-business owner himself, making him the last person to know what it takes to help Florida’s entrepreneurs succeed,” campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens told Perry.

Rubio spent part of Saturday in Brandon, a Republican stronghold. He needs to do more of that. Bob Buckhorn, Tampa’s Democratic Mayor, has pressed the attack that Rubio is an absentee representative of the people.

When Rubio was in the process of being routed in the state’s Republican presidential primary, Buckhorn made the point to me that despite his taking several trips to Washington on Tampa’s behalf, Rubio never made time to meet with him. Buckhorn is a staunch supporter of Murphy.

So, who do you trust?

Put another way, who do you distrust least?

The liar?

The slacker?

It’s game on and now we know the plan.

In Tampa, Patrick Murphy says Marco Rubio is running to be president, not a full-time Senator

Although they both have a primary election to get through in two weeks, both Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio are acting like the general election for U.S. Senate is already here. That was evident in Tampa on Monday morning, when the Jupiter Democrat denied he was overlooking Alan Grayson and the Aug. 30 primary, but then immediately lit into his probable Republican opponent.

“We don’t take anything for granted,” Murphy responded, adding that he’s going out and about to try to meet as many voters as he can. “Everyone I talk to, whether they’re Republican, Democrat or independent, tell me: Patrick, I want a senator who at least wants the job. Who at least wants to be there to solve our problems.”

Murphy spoke with reporters after making an appearance at Tampa Bay WaVE, a local nonprofit that has been helping entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow tech businesses since 2008. He was joined by Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who was one of the first elected officials in the Tampa Bay area to back his candidacy more than a year ago.

“Senator Rubio’s missed more votes than any senator from Florida in nearly 50 years. That’s to me is unconscionable,” Murphy added.

When Rubio announced in late June that he would reverse his previous stance and run again for his Senate seat, he refused to say that he would commit to fulfilling a full six-year term in office, saying, “What I’m not going to do any more are these unequivocal pronunciations.” The comment came after he had reversed his statements over the past year that he would not run for reelection to his senate seat. With Donald Trump on the rocks in his presidential run currently, there are more than a few Republicans who are already thinking of their potential field in 2020, and Rubio could very well be in that mix again.

“He’s in this because he wants to run for president again,” Murphy said. “That’s his ambitions. I care about working for the people of Florida, for getting things done for Floridians, and part of that is getting around and meeting entrepreneurs and meeting people, hearing what’s on their minds so I can be the strongest voices for them.”

In the days before the presidential primary, Buckhorn blasted Rubio for being a no-show in visiting Tampa for the majority of his five years plus as a senator. He repeated the charge on Monday.

“If it’s any indication, I’ve seen Patrick Murphy more in the last five weeks that I saw Marco Rubio in the last five years,” Buckhorn says. “I have never met Marco Rubio. That speaks volumes about his commitment to Florida, and certainly his commitment to the Tampa Bay area.”

Although Buckhorn is a supporter of Murphy, he’s also expressed praise for Rick Scott and Pam Bondi in the past, statements that have at times alienated him from some local Democrats. Buckhorn insisted that he wasn’t being partisan in expressing his disappointment about Rubio’s performance when it comes to showing Tampa some attention.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a Democratic mayor or a Republican mayor,” Buckhorn added. We’re the third largest city in this state, we’re the economic engine that drives this state, and the fact that our U.S. Senator has never taken the time to spend any time to talk about issues with the local leaders, I think that’s an indictment right there.”

The Rubio camp has pushed back on those charges, but there’s no doubt that he’s been a much more visible in the Tampa Bay area in recent weeks, including a visit to a Republican Party of Florida field office in Brandon on Saturday, and making an appearance at Republican Convention watch party in South Tampa last month.

Murphy and Buckhorn spent more than a half-hour chatting with some of the local entrepreneurs who were at Tampa Bay WaVe, including Akira Mitchell, with TechStart TampaBay. It’s a local nonprofit that teaches kids how to code, build robots and 3D print. “Our focus is on the next generation of creators. We provide opportunity, inspiration and education for them.”

Murphy also spoke with Sherry Benton with and Saravana Pat Bhava’s business with Both talked of potential remedies that they hoped the federal government could work on if Murphy makes it to the Senate.

Not surprisingly, his visit was blasted by the Rubio campaign.

“Patrick Murphy was caught lying about being a small business owner himself, making him the last person to know what it takes to help Florida’s entrepreneurs succeed,” said campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens. “Murphy doesn’t even know whether the business he claims to own is still operating. Florida’s small businesses already have a senator who fights for them, and that’s why local business groups from across the state are supporting Marco’s campaign.”

Ahrens comment referenced allegations made by reporter Miami television reporter Jim DeFede earlier this summer, who reported that Murphy exaggerated claims that he was a small business owner and a certified public accountant. The Murphy responded with a memo saying that the story was inaccurate with some of its claims.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.15.16 -Team USA Basketball team continues to barely get by in XXXI Olympiad

Time for sport, as they say on the BBC.

Well, so much for those stories about how those dire predictions about how the Rio Olympics have been proven wrong: Yesterday in Rio, U.S. gold medalist Ryan Lochte said robbers posing as police pointed a gun at his head and took his money, while three other U.S. swimmers with him were forced to lie on the ground by their assailants and also were robbed. Things had been going so smoothly in Brazil until then, hadn’t they? Well, Olympic officials did find two bullets that tore through a media tent at the equestrian center and reporters have claimed their bus was shot at while driving along a highway from a basketball arena.

So how has your Olympic viewing experience been to date, more than halfway through the  XXXI Olympiad? I’m actually fascinated by how Team USA’s 2016 Dream Team is (barely) winning each game by the skin of their teeth. Yesterday, the Americans – led by the Warriors’ Klay Thompson, edged out France, 100-97, securing the top seed in Group A with  5-0 record.It was nice to see Thompson start contributing, after having laid some golden eggs in the shooting department last week. New Warrior Kevin Durant hasn’t been stellar, either.

The Tampa Bay Rays were on national TV on Friday night – as the team playing opposite Alex Rodriguez in his last game as a New York Yankee. But is A-Rod’s career over? The way he’s played this season, it probably should be, but rumors abound that he may get a call from the Miami Marlins this week, after they lost their star player, Giancarlo Stanton, for the rest of the season. Even though there’s little in the tank, A-Rod didn’t want this weekend to be his last ever, and if the Marlins sign him, it’s on the Yankees dime.

The New York sports media is going to miss A-Rod big time. As the New York Daily News Bob Raissman wrote on Sunday, “Somewhere out there, we see a lonely sports headline writer sitting in a dimly lit room sobbing as he looks at all his past Rodriguez-inspired work knowing that it’s over-and-out for catchy ‘lines like: “A-Fraud.” Or “A-Roid Busted Again.”

Rays fans will be heartened to know that manager Kevin Cash’s job is secure, according to Rays owner Stu Sternberg. I mean, you are happy he’s not in any trouble, despite the fact the franchise is staring at a 100-loss season (though they were impressive yesterday in defeating the Yanks, 12-3).

NFL football also returned to America this weekend after being away for seven months. Well, sort of. What else do we call pre-season games, anyway? Mildly diverting entertainment, unless you’re a season ticket holder to any of the NFL’s 30 franchises, in which case it’s more like a ripoff.

In other news..

Treasure Coast Representative Patrick Murphy is in Tampa today. His main opponent in the Florida Democratic senate primary, Alan Grayson, paid a visit to the Seminole Heights Library last week.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova engaged in their first and probably only debate in their race for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

Adam Putnam is on everyone’s shortlist as a Republican candidate for governor in 2018. He spoke Friday for nearly an hour on a variety of issues in Tampa.

Better Florida Alliance rates U.S. Senate candidates on national security

The Better Florida Alliance, a conservative group dedicated to economic freedom, tough national security and strict Constitutional government has issued report cards rating Florida’s major U.S. Senate candidates on “National Security” issues.

The group gave all A grades to the Republicans, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and his challenger Carlos Beruff, and low and failing grades, Cs, Ds and Fs, to the Democrats, U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

“The United States faces growing threats around the world, made worse by enhanced military and technological advances of nations and rogue terrorist groups that do not share our views on freedom and personal liberty,” Brian Burgess, spokesman for Better Florida Alliance, stated in a news release from the group. “That’s why we believe national security must be an extremely high priority for the person we elect to send to the United States Senate.”

Rubio, of Miami, got A+s in everything, as the group hailed his “comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS” in the “Defeat ISIS category; his “call for a strong national defense,” in the “Strong Military” category; and his staunch opposition to the Iran deal in the “Protecting Israel” category.

Rubio’s overall National Security grade was A+.

Beruff, the Bradenton homebuilder, got an A+ for Protecting Israel, as the group noted his “solid understanding of the treacherous loopholes in the Iran deal,” and A grades in positions for a Strong Military and Defeating ISIS.

Beruff’s overall National Security grade was A.

Murphy, of Jupiter, got a C+ for Strong Military, a grade that might have been better had it not been for his “discussion on climate change being as much of a threat as ISIS,” according to the group. He got a D for Protecting Israel and an F for Defeating ISIS.

Murphy’s overall National Security grade was D+.

Grayson, of Orlando, got a D for Protecting Israel, a grade that might have been better, but the group noted that “Grayson, who is Jewish, makes no mention of Israel sovereignty on his website.” He got a D+ for Strong Military, with his support for veterans being cited as a strength; and an F for Defeating ISIS.

Grayson’s overall National Security grade was a D-.

Earlier this year the Better Florida Alliance issued report cards on “Taxpayer Accountability,” but only two of the current candidates were rated, Murphy and Grayson, because Beruff had no record yet, and Rubio had not yet entered the race. Murphy got a D- and Grayson an F.

In Tampa, Alan Grayson says a Senate victory for him is the chance “to take our govt. back”

“All rise!”

Those were the first words that Alan Grayson uttered in jest while entering a conference room at the Seminole Heights Library in Tampa on Thursday night.

The Orlando area U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate candidate then gave a sarcastic shoutout to the “trackers” who follow his every move in public, before setting in for the next hour-and-half- to take questions from approximately 80 people at the town-hall meeting.

Gun control, the environment, restoring the voting rights to ex-felons, and even his run-in with a POLITICO reporter during the Democratic National Convention were all fodder for discussion, as well as the de rigueur slamming of his main opponent in the Senate race, Jupiter Congressman Patrick Murphy.

“My opponent has taken more money from Wall Street than any other Democrat … or any other Republican other that that of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy,” he said. “He’s taken more money from Wall Street than the Chairman of the Banking Committee (Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling). How do you do that?” he asked.

He then answered his own question.

“You cut the law into little pieces and you sell it to the highest bidder,” Grayson said, adding somewhat ominously that a vote for him was “the last chance to say that you can either work for the people, or work against the people? You can either do the greatest good for the greatest number, or you can be a toady for special interests. That’s really what this election is all about. It’s a referendum on our system of government. One last chance to take our government back.”

The crowd – some of them wearing Bernie Sanders T-shirts – seemed totally in his corner. A couple of citizens said they didn’t know much about him before hand, but were impressed by what they were hearing.

One of those people was East Hillsborough activist Michelle Williams, who said her major issue was the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons. Grayson informed her that it was an issue that he cared a lot about.

There was one moment that could have gone sideways during the discussion. One citizen said there were “three troubling issues” that he hoped Grayson could speak to. One was his support for his wife, Dr. Dena Grayson, over his former staffer, Susannah Randolph, in the race to succeed him in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

Grayson swatted that question away easily, espousing the virtues of having a doctor elected to the House of Representatives, especially in the time of Zika.

The second question was about the House Office of Congressional Ethics report that alleged that there was a “substantial reason to believe” that Grayson broke federal and House ethics rules in connection with his offshore hedge fund. And the third question was about the “admittedly ambushed interview” he had last month in Philadelphia with a POLITICO report, as well as “the larger issues pertaining to that.”

Those “larger issues” were the allegations by Grayson’s ex-wife that he had physically abused her.

Grayson said he would answer “all of the questions you have,” but added that “the things you refer to actually touch the lives of no one in this room, except possibly me.”

But, in fact, he did not answer at all answer the questions regarding the hedge fund or those “larger issues,” and instead simply focused on his confrontation with POLITICO reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere.

“In the NBA, if you want to take a charge, you have to stop moving your feet,” the congressman began, as he started to shuffle his own feet to demonstrate what he meant. “He went here, and there, and everywhere and consistently tried to block me, leading the room with his chest. I’ll tell you, I’ve never gotten that treatment, even from Republican trackers.”

Grayson went on to say that that he kept on telling Dovere that “you are blocking me.”

“Is that my fault? I don’t think so. I think it’s a strange thing that just because you’re a U.S. congressman running for a Senate seat that somebody would do anything like that,” he said, before apologizing to the rest of the room because he said it had nothing to do with their lives.

In response, Dovere tells FloridaPolitics that, “I’m not sure why the Congressman wants to keep discussing this, but there is a video on our site showing what happened — including his pushing me while claiming I was pushing him. As he said in that video, he attended a public event, and he is a public official. I was attempting to ask him questions about the serious allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife.”

Grayson has made frequent appearances in Tampa as he vies for the senate bid. Patrick Murphy hasn’t made as many visits, but his office did announce on Friday that he will be coming to Tampa on Monday to visit Tampa Bay Wave.

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