Politics

Angry Grayson Claims Murphy's Dad Bought Senate Nomination

Says party turned on him after Thomas Murphy Jr. promised $10 million in contributions

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson sent out a fundraising email, attributing Rep. Patrick Murphy’s win over him in the Democratic primary to promises of money from Murphy’s father. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson alleged Wednesday that the father of his victorious primary opponent in the Florida Senate race promised the Democratic Party $10 million to ensure his son won the nomination. 

In an angry fundraising email, Grayson alleged a political operative with Rep. Patrick Murphy’s campaign purportedly told one of Grayson’s campaign workers that Murphy’s father, Thomas Murphy Jr., had promised donations from him and friends to the Senate Majority PAC, along with the super PAC backing his son (Floridians for a Strong Middle Class), as long as Murphy won the primary election.

The proof is the money trail, Grayson claimed, pointing to the amount of money the Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had reserved in TV slots during the time between the primary and the general election, and Thomas Murphy Jr.’s promised contributions — $10 million, according to Grayson. 

“It’s worth considering how utterly implausible it is that the Senate Majority PAC and the DSCC each would reserve $10 million for the last ten weeks of the Florida Senate race, without Tom Murphy’s promised cash,” Grayson wrote.

Neither Murphy’s campaign nor the Senate Majority PAC responded to requests for comment.

Murphy’s bid to unseat Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is one of the key contests in determining which party will control the next Congress. Most polls show Rubio with a modest lead. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as Leans Republican.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, the elder Murphy gave $200,000 to Floridians for a Strong Middle Class in December 2015 and $250,000 in September. His company also poured in $300,000 to the super PAC in March. FEC records also show he gave the Senate Majority PAC $1 million in July of this year ahead of the Senate primary. 

In May, Thomas Murphy Jr. gave $19,400 through joint fundraising committee contributions. He had also donated in 2015 to the DSCC.

As of mid-October, Murphy’s father had contributed, through himself and his company, at least $1.75 million to outside groups for his son’s campaign, according to FEC records.

Grayson said that when the elder Murphy failed to deliver on his promised $10 million, national Democrats started withdrawing support.

“And after that earlier $1 million purchase of the party endorsement ad on Aug. 13, Tom Murphy has given nothing to the Senate Majority PAC directly. Zilch,” he wrote.

[Murphy’s Dad Spends $1.75 Million on Son’s Campaign

Grayson said the mere mention of the elder Murphy’s money was enough to turn his party against him in the primary. He said he had been up by 8 points in polls before the super PACs went all-in for Murphy.

“All I know is that just getting a whiff of $10 million of Tom Murphy’s money, just a glance at that mirage, was enough to turn my party against me — in favor of someone contemptuous of my party and its principles,” he wrote.

“Murphy is a second-term congressman who has accomplished so little that he was named the least effective member of the House,” Grayson said.

And he sounded as if he wanted nothing to do with his party.

“I once told a national TV audience, ‘You have only three friends in life: God, your mama, and the Democratic Party,’” Grayson wrote. “Cross that last one off the list.”

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