Patrick Murphy says bipartisan governor ticket legal, decision soon

Democrat Patrick Murphy says he expects to decide in early June whether to run for governor with a Republican running mate. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter says he expects to decide in early June whether to launch a campaign for governor with former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly as his running mate.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for the ballot is June 22. Four Democrats are running, but polls show a wide open race and Murphy and Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene have not ruled out making late entrances.

Murphy has been contacting potential donors and got an opinion from an attorney that nothing in Florida law prohibits a gubernatorial candidate from selecting a lieutenant governor candidate from a different party.

“Honestly I believe people are more interested in getting their problems solved than the politics of political parties,” Murphy told The Palm Beach Post today.

Democratic candidates for governor, alphabetically from left: Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Chris King, Philip Levine.

Murphy last month gave his OK to a poll testing his name against the four Democrats already running in the Aug. 28 party primary: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

The poll also tested how Murphy would fare if he announced Jolly as his running mate. Jolly, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, has been touring college campuses with Murphy to decry partisanship and governmental gridlock.

With Jolly as his running mate and Murphy described to respondents as “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,” the poll found Murphy leading the Democratic field with 21 percent to 17 percent for Levine.

After the idea of a Murphy-Jolly ticket was floated, some Democrats questioned whether it’s legal for candidates from different parties to run together.

“There is no prohibition under the laws of the State of Florida on a candidate for the office of Governor from one political party selecting a candidate for Lieutenant Governor from another political party to run with them,” says a legal memo prepared for Murphy by Fort Lauderdale attorney Jason Blank.

Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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