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Patrick Murphy picks up endorsement from left-leaning group End Citizens United

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Liberal public interest group End Citizens United endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The group – founded to fight against “dark money in politics” which they say is corrupting the federal government in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC – says that

The move flouts the conventional wisdom – and the narrative advanced by fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson – that Grayson is the only “real” Democrat in the race to replace Marco Rubio as Florida’s junior senator.

“Our mission is to elect strong Democrats to Congress who will fight to overturn Citizens United,” Jessica Adair, the group’s political director, told Florida Politics Tuesday afternoon.

“Since he was first elected, Rep. Murphy has been a champion on campaign finance issues and has fought to bring more transparency to elections. We need him to bring this fight to the U.S. Senate, and ECU is proud to support him in this election,” said Adair.

In a release, the group cited the fact that Murphy “fought to roll back a Republican plan that weakened campaign finance laws related to an individuals’ contributions to political party committees” in choosing Murphy, though they did not mention that Grayson’s activity along similar lines.

The endorsement could be a coup for Murphy among Democratic base voters – the group has endorsed well-known congressional progressives like former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett since its inception this spring.

End Citizens United was founded in March and, according to MSNBC, has raised $2 million from some some 150,000 donors, averaging around $15 a contribution.

The group says it is on pace to rake in between $25 million to $30 million over the course of the 2016 election cycle, allowing it to make substantial plays in major contested House and Senate races around the country.

Murphy, for his part, has taken in more than $2.7 million in contributions as of July. Grayson has reported raising around $450,000. Those figures include only “hard” money given directly to candidates’ campaign accounts.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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