Murphy pulls the plug on debate with Grayson, citing abuse claims

Plug pulled on TV debate between Murphy, Grayson.

Plug pulled on TV debate between Murphy, Grayson.

Florida Democrats were to get only one TV debate in the U.S. Senate primary campaign — and even that was to be broadcast only in greater Orlando.

Now, that’s off, too.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter said Wednesday that he wouldn’t take part in any debate with primary rival and fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, following allegations of abuse leveled against Grayson by his ex-wife.

Murphy made the announcement even as Grayson and another Democratic contender, Pam Keith, were at the Palm Beach County Courthouse calling for more debates before the Aug. 30 primary.

“Alan Grayson’s words and actions have disqualified him from public service, and I cannot in good conscience give him a platform to promote himself and his campaign,” Murphy said.

“As a result, I will not participate in any forums or debates with Alan Grayson.”

Murphy has the edge in many polls in the Democratic contest to face likely Republican primary winner, first-term Sen. Marco Rubio.

Grayson’s backing by organized groups also thinned last week, just days after the mother of his children provided police reports to Politico alleging decades of domestic abuse.

Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee rescinded endorsements in Grayson’s Senate primary against Murphy following the allegations made by Lolita Grayson.

Their 25-year marriage was annulled last year after Grayson learned during their messy divorce that she was still married to another man when they wed. Grayson’s lawyer, Orlando’s Mark NeJame, declared Lolita Grayson’s claims “utterly false” and designed to discredit his campaign.

Grayson’s campaign manager, Michael Ceraso, also responded Wednesday to Murphy’s move — while acknowledging that his boss  “like all of us, is a flawed individual.”

“Patrick Murphy is exploiting this very personal family struggle for his own political gain,” Ceraso added.

“And while Patrick has actually been caught lying about himself and what he’s done, Alan has discussed these and any other allegations openly with the press. For the rest of the campaign, he will continue to do that. The same cannot be said for Patrick Murphy.”

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