Patrick Murphy pollster says he can win Dem governor nomination with Jolly as running mate

Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, left, and former Republican Rep. David Jolly.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter would become the front runner for the Democratic nomination for governor if he gets in the race with former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly as his running mate to “get things done” in Florida, Murphy’s pollster says.

The poll, first reported by Politico, shows a wide-open race for the Democratic nomination.

Murphy recently gave his OK to a poll testing his name against already-declared Democrats Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Chris King and Philip Levine. With Murphy’s name in the mix, pollster Keith Frederick found former Miami Beach Mayor Levine leading the pack at 20 percent with Murphy and former Rep. Graham tied for second at 14 percent.

Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats win primaries by running to the left (and Republicans by running to the right). But when likely Democratic voters were asked about Murphy teaming up with former Republican congressman Jolly — and given a positive description of the ticket — Murphy leads with 21 percent, followed by Levine at 17 percent and Graham at 12 percent.

Here’s the way the Murphy-Jolly ticket was described, according to Frederick’s polling memo: “Some people are urging Patrick Murphy to run for Governor and pick David Jolly, a
moderate and independent former Republican Congressman, as his Lt. Governor running mate. They say it would be a clear sign Murphy would be a different kind of Governor who would work together with reasonable republicans in Tallahassee to set aside Florida’s old, partisan politics and get things done for the Florida. In this case, who would you vote for in the Democratic Primary for Governor?”

Murphy and Jolly have been touring college campuses to decry partisan gridlock and dysfunction in Washington. Jolly, who served a single term in Congress as a Republican, frequently appears on TV as a critic of President Donald Trump.

Frederick polled 750 likely Democratic voters April 23-28. The survey has a 3.6 percent margin of error.