Florida’s Democratic Senate Candidates Knock — And Use — Wall Street, Super PACs

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination in the race for Florida’s open senate seat both have strong positions against Wall Street and super PACs, but you wouldn’t know that by their actions.

On the right, there is a crowd of Republicans looking to replace Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] — who’s passing on another Senate run, despite dropping his presidential bid — including two congressmen, the lieutenant governor, and a multi-millionaire real estate developer.

But the more fascinating election lies with the Democrats. The two frontrunners in the race are Reps. [crscore]Alan Grayson[/crscore] and [crscore]Patrick Murphy[/crscore]. Grayson is the far-left progressive in the race. Murphy is the more centrist “blue-dog” Democrat.

Grayson has endorsed Bernie Sanders and has spoken favorably of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Grayson’s been endorsed by the Progressive Chance Campaign Committee. They wrote in their endorsement, “[Grayson] is the only candidate who favors strong Wall Street reform and rejects campaign cash from Goldman Sachs and other big banks.”

In that same endorsement, they referred to Murphy, not by name, but as the “establishment-backed candidate.” Murphy is certainly establishment-backed. On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden went down to South Florida to campaign with the congressman. Despite his establishment creds, he holds liberal views — he’s even called the influence of super PACs “gross.”

However, both these candidates’ actions don’t square up with their rhetoric.

Rep. Grayson is currently under a House Ethics investigation for operating a multi-million dollar hedge fund while in Congress. Promotional materials for his fund, Sibylline Fund, include the quote “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.”

Murphy, on the other hand, has been having difficulty playing the role of “man of the people.” Earlier this March, he announced he would be participating in a “minimum wage challenge.” To follow the challenge, he would live off $17 a day for five days.

During those five days, he flew to a Tampa fundraiser, attended an event at a yacht club, and then another fundraiser at a Palm Beach mansion on a golf course. One of the challenging things he endured during this exercise was not seeing a movie at a theater.

Minimum wage challenge day 4—walked by the theater but didn’t see a show. 1 ticket = whole days’ budget! #FightFor15 pic.twitter.com/RptkV1aNs5

— Patrick Murphy (@PatrickMurphyFL) March 5, 2016

On top of this, Murphy has uploaded five-minutes of silent B-roll footage of him walking on the beach talking to children and minorities. The only use for this outside of a 200 level film class would be by — you guessed it — “gross” Super PACs.

As of 2015, Grayson was the 12th richest member of Congress. Murphy’s father is the biggest contributor to a super PAC supporting his son.