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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

James Clyburn in Florida to campaign for Patrick Murphy



The Florida Democratic Party's annual "Leadership Blue" gathering today in Hollywood, Fla., has an unannounced guest: U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Clyburn told the Herald/Times he's been in Florida since Thursday, in part, to help with fellow U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy's campaign for U.S. Senate today and also attend a couple other events over the weekend.

Clyburn said he's an enthusiastic supporter of Murphy's and was "part of those recruiting Patrick to this race way back when we were looking at this race and who we thought could win this race."

"Patrick's one of the ones I lobbied, asked to get in it," he said. "I'm committed to doing everything I can for him. ... I'm all for Patrick."

Clyburn said he and the Jupiter congressman "have been pretty close friends" since Murphy's first House race in 2012 against then-Republican incumbent Allen West.

"I thought he would be a great improvement over Allen West and he was -- and still is," Clyburn said.

Clyburn said he flew down from Washington, D.C. with Murphy on Thursday. He attended his daughter's doctoral graduation from Nova Southeasten University on Friday, and on Sunday, he'll be at a Bethel AME church in Lakeland for a ceremony remembering last year's church shooting in Charleston.

Clyburn said he knew Murphy was running against fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary, but he was unaware of the third contender, Pam Keith.

This afternoon, Clyburn attended a meeting of the Florida Democrats' women's caucus as a surrogate for Murphy, but he was unable to address the crowd as only the actual candidates were permitted to speak. Both Keith and Grayson spoke, though.

[Last modified: Saturday, June 18, 2016 2:51pm]


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