Patrick Murphy, Jeff Greene not ruling out late Democratic bids for Florida governor

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (left) gave his OK to a poll testing his name as a candidate for governor, with former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Jolly (center) as running mate; Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene (right) isn’t ruling out a Democratic run for governor, either.

Two Palm Beach County Democratic figures – former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene – are not ruling out making late bids for Florida governor.

Murphy, a two-term House member who lost a 2016 race for U.S. Senate, gave his OK to a poll that tests his name as a gubernatorial candidate with Democratic voters, a person familiar with the poll confirmed. The poll also floats the names of some potential candidates for lieutenant governor – including former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Jolly, who has been touring college campuses across the nation with Murphy to discuss partisan gridlock and governmental dysfunction.

The poll testing Murphy’s name was first reported by The Tampa Bay Times.

“Some supporters wanted to do a poll and I didn’t say no,” Murphy said in a text message to The Palm Beach Post this morning. “I certainly didn’t say yes to actually running!”

Greene, a Palm Beach resident who lost a 2010 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, told The Palm Beach Post he has concerns about whether the four Democrats now running for governor — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham,  Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine — will have the money and message to win in November.

“I have definitely not ruled out getting into the race…I’m still looking at it. The filing date is not til June,” Greene said. The qualifying period for gubernatorial candidates ends at noon on June 22.

Greene said his experience as an “accidental educator” — he founded The Greene School in West Palm Beach because he wasn’t satisfied with public or private school options for his children — has given him insight into education that other candidates lack.

Greene’s net worth was estimated at $3.8 billion — about $700 million higher than his nearby Palm Beach neighbor, President Donald Trump — on the latest Forbes 400 list.

Greene noted that Florida Gov. Rick Scott‘s personal wealth helped him win close races in 2010 and 2014.

“If I did get involved I’d be able to get my message out and spend whatever it would take to get me over the top,” Greene said.