• FL-Sen: On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered its endorsement to Rep. Patrick Murphy, making him the third candidate to earn the group's formal backing this year. The committee also joins a long list of Murphy supporters, including several members of Congress, approximately half the Democrats in the state legislature, and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist.
The move might be aimed at dissuading Rep. Alan Grayson from pursuing a Senate bid of his own, but the wealthy Grayson, who has a big donor list and can also self-fund, isn't likely to be deterred by such a development. Indeed, his only response was to scoff:
"Florida Democratic voters choose our party nominee, not out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, D.C."D.C.'s had a smoke-free workplace law in effect for almost a decade, so this Tammany-esque imagery is probably as alien to average folks as rotary phones and 8-tracks. Be that as it may, despite his characteristic brashness, Grayson is proceeding cautiously. He went on Fox News Radio on Friday to tell Alan Colmes he'll decide whether to run "in the next 30 days," and he recently informed Roll Call that he's "doing the kind of due diligence that one does before announcing, looking at polls, things like that."
So while Grayson may profess not to care about what the DSCC thinks, he evidently does care—somewhat surprisingly—about what the polling says. But there's a lot polls can't tell you, particularly because both Murphy and Grayson have limited name recognition, and that's where historical knowledge, pattern recognition, and intuition all come in. Most strategists believe the centrist Murphy would make the stronger general election candidate, while many progressive activists are convinced the outspoken Grayson would motivate voters better. It's clear which side the DSCC comes down on.
But more worrisome than the possibility that Democrats might put forward the weaker of two candidates is the prospect of a nasty primary sapping resources from the eventual nominee and damaging his reputation, making it that much harder for the party to pick up this open seat. Grayson has already publicly sniped at Murphy, so the idea that we might see a clean fight focused on the issues doesn't seem especially likely. That's why Murphy and the DSCC are still hoping that Grayson will stay out. Grayson has said he'll "probably" run, but who knows? Maybe he won't like what his polls have to say after all.