© 2022 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

U.S. Senate Candidate Murphy Faces Opposition From Inside Democratic Party

Murphy For Florida

There's only one declared candidate so far for the Marco Rubio U.S. Senate seat. And he's already earned a vote of "no confidence" from a wing of his own party. 

Patrick Murphy is a former Republican who switched parties in 2012 and defeated arch conservative Allen West for South Florida's northernmost congressional seat.

But if he was once a hero to liberal Democrats, he isn’t any more. Leaders of the party's progressive caucus are calling on him to get out of the Senate race.

Nancy Jacobson, a Democratic National Committee member from Orange County and a member of the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus, told reporters in a Monday conference call that Murphy has been a disappointment.

"When he talks about Social Security and Medicare, Patrick Murphy often sounds more like Paul Ryan than Elizabeth Warren," Jacobson said.

Credit American Federation ofGovernment Employees / flickr Creative Commons
flickr Creative Commons
Orlando Rep. Alan Grayson has not officially jumped in to the race to fill U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's seat.

Many national Democrats think Murphy would have a great chance as a Senate candidate. But progressives in Florida say it would make no sense to replace Rubio with a Democratic senator who would vote just like him. They'd rather see liberal Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson in the Senate.

Frank Day, a North Florida Democrat, said Grayson is right on the issues, and he's raising big money in small amounts.

"In fact, he's the largest small donor fundraiser in Congress. Unlike Murphy, Grayson's campaign cash won't come with strings attached," Day said.

Progressive Democrats accuse Murphy of favoring big cuts to Social Security and Medicare, of supporting the Keystone pipeline and of working to undo financial regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act. Grayson's election plans remain unclear.