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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

MoveOn.org won't endorse in Florida's Democratic U.S. Senate primary

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Orlando, speaks to reporters in Tallahassee in late June.

Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Orlando, speaks to reporters in Tallahassee in late June.

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MoveOn.org Political Action, a nationally known progressive organization, is withholding an endorsement in Florida's competitive Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in light of allegations that one candidate, Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, abused his ex-wife.

The organization sent an email to its members Friday afternoon, notifying them of its decision.

The group had previously launched an online poll to solicit its members' feedback on whom MoveOn should endorse in the race: Grayson, fellow U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, or Pam Keith, a Miami labor attorney and former naval officer. (The poll was still live, as of this morning.)

"We recently asked your help in deciding which candidate MoveOn should endorse in the race for U.S. Senate in Florida. Since then, new and serious allegations of domestic abuse have emerged about one of the candidates, Representative Alan Grayson," read the email, a copy of which was obtained by the Herald/Times. "We are not in a position to fully investigate these claims but take them very seriously. Violence against women is never acceptable. In light of this disturbing news, we have decided not to issue any endorsement in this race at this time."

"We urge local authorities to act swiftly and to fully investigate these allegations," continued the email, which was signed by the group's leaders including executive director Ilya Sheyman.

Grayson has vehemently denied the claims by his ex-wife, Lolita Grayson. Their marriage was annulled last year. His campaign did not return a request for comment about MoveOn's email.

MoveOn spokesman Brian Stewart confirmed the authenticity of the email to the Herald/Times and said, "I can't say what the outcome of an endorsement would have been" had the Grayson allegations not surfaced.

The group's online poll originally told members: "Any candidate who receives more than 50% of the votes cast will win the endorsement. If no one receives more than 50%, MoveOn won't endorse a candidate."

Grayson, known for being a liberal firebrand, recently lost endorsements from two other high-profile progressive groups (the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America) after the abuse allegations came to light last week.

MoveOn's survey did not include lesser-known Democratic candidates Reginald Luster and "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente, who will also be on the Aug. 30 primary ballot.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 11:53am]

    

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