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Alan Grayson & Patrick Murphy in a virtual tie in new Dem Senate poll

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The Democratic U.S. Senate race in Florida is a statistical tie, some 13 months before the primary election, according to a new poll.

Orlando U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson gets 33 percent and Jupiter U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy 32 percent in the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey published this morning in POLITICO by reporter Marc Caputo. That’s good news for Grayson, whose stock has risen by 19 percentage points since the two candidates were polled by Mason-Dixon in April. Murphy’s numbers were up also, from 22 to 32 percent.

When North Florida U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is added to the mix, Murphy ends up leading. In a three-way race, Murphy would get 26 percent, Grayson 24 percent and Graham just 11 percent. There is much speculation that the upcoming redistricting of her CD 2 seat could compel  Graham to forestall a re-election campaign next year, and either run for the Senate in 2016 or governor in 2018. As of now, however, Graham says she is planning on running for re-election.

On the GOP side, Pinellas County U.S. Rep. David Jolly is the early front-runner, getting 16 percent of the vote. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is second with 10 percent, Jacksonville U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis  is at 9 percent, North Florida U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller is at 8 percent, and retired CIA contractor Todd Wilcox is at 2 percent. (Miller is not yet a candidate in the contest.)

“No one currently appears to have enough strength to be labeled as the ‘front-runner,’ ” writes Brad Coker, Mason-Dixon’s pollster. He says that 55 percent of Republicans are undecided at the moment on the Senate race, as are 35 percent of Democrats.

One Republican who says he may consider getting into the race by the end of summer is former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum. If he were to enter the race, he would shoot up to the top of the list, getting 22 percent of the vote. Jolly is next with 11 percent, followed by DeSantis with 8 percent, Lopez-Cantera is at 7 percent, Jeff Miller at 6 percent, and Wilcox at 1 percent.

Mason-Dixon interviewed 500 Republicans and 500 Democrats for the survey, conducted July 20-24, with a margin of error of plus/minus 4.5 percentage points.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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