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Florida Progressives not impressed by DSCC endorsement of Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate

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Alan Grayson‘s entry into the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate for 2016 can’t come soon enough for the Florida Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus.

Just a few hours after the Democratic Senate Congressional Committee endorsed Jupiter U.S Rep. Patrick Murphy in his bid for the U.S. Senate next year, the Progressive Caucus weighed in, and it wasn’t to congratulate Murphy.

“The idea that a senator from Montana and Wall Street Democrats know better than rank-and-file Florida Democrats is both patronizing and unsurprising,” says Susan Smith, Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida president in a statement. She was referring to Montana U.S. Sen. and DSCC Chairman Jon Tester‘s comment from this morning that Murphy “is one of our party’s most promising rising stars, and his track record of fighting for Florida’s working families, seniors, and the environment make him the strongest candidate to win the Florida Senate race and flip this seat.”

“Then again, no one knows better than Jon Tester that DSCC support doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Smith says, alluding to the fact that the DSCC endorsed Tester’s opponent back in 2006, hoping to close ranks behind the Democratic Party’s preferred candidate in that race, state Auditor John Morrison. Instead Tester entered the race and defeated Morrison, before going on and defeating the GOP candidate that November. He was subsequently re-elected in 2012.

“Florida Democrats are looking  to support a progressive candidate who will lead on big, bold economic populist ideas, not another politician who will do Wall Street’s bidding in Washington,” Smith says.

That obvious progressive candidate is Orlando area U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who is still contemplating getting into the race. Grayson said on Friday that he would make a decision about getting into the race by the end of this month.

Murphy’s stock continues to rise as several name Republicans such as Will Weatherford, Vern Buchanan and Jeff Atwater have pulled themselves out of contention for the Republican nomination for Senate seat, which has become open now that Marco Rubio has said that he will not run for re-election next year, as he puts all of his energies into a presidential run.

Murphy announced his candidacy in late March, and has since picked up numerous endorsements, and not just from centrists who share his moderate political philosophy or voting record.

“I wish the DSCC would take a page from the Democratic National Committee’s playbook,” Smith adds. “Last week when Bernie Sanders announced he was joining Hillary Clinton in running for president, the DNC wisely welcomed him to the race because they recognize that spirited primary debates are good for our party and our country.”

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 [email protected]

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