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U.S. Senate | Democratic primary, Alan Grayson v. Pam Keith v. Patrick Murphy

U.S. Senate | Democratic primary

With control of the U.S. Senate on the line, Democrats are looking to Florida, where they hope to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio. The caustic primary campaign has pitted two congressmen — establishment favorite Patrick Murphy and bombastic Alan Grayson — against each other and a first-time candidate, labor attorney Pam Keith.

About the job: Statewide representative to the U.S. Senate. Salary: $174,000. Term: six years.

Alan Grayson

Profession: 

U.S. Representative

About the candidate: 

Grayson, 58, has run a campaign aimed particularly at attracting supporters in the Democratic Party's liberal wing. Known for his bombastic style, the congressman's campaign has largely sounded like an extension of Sen. Bernie Sanders' White House bid. Grayson was first elected in 2008 but was booted out of office in the 2010 Tea Party wave before being elected again in 2012. Last month, he came under fire after police reports surfaced alleging he hit his ex-wife, Lolita, on four occasions over 20 years. Grayson also is the subject of an ongoing congressional ethics investigation into hedge funds he manages.

Education: 

Harvard University, bachelor's degree in economics, master's of public policy, law degree

Do you support or oppose ending the economic embargo with Cuba? 

"I support relaxing the economic embargo as long as political concessions can be obtained in return for political reform and improved human rights in Cuba."

Do you support or oppose restrictions on the capacity of firearm ammunition clips? 

"I support limitations that correspond with the limitations that were in effect during the assault weapons ban."

Name one policy in which you agree with the opposing party and explain why.: 

"I worked with Congressman Ron Paul to add an amendment to DoddFrank to audit the Federal Reserve. That audit revealed that $16 trillion in bailouts had been made to U.S. banks and corporations and foreign banks."

As a toxic algae bloom chokes several state waterways, how should the federal government respond, and who do you believe is to blame? 

"The primary blame goes to climate change, while secondary blame belongs to unsustainable agriculture practices. The federal government should accept responsibility, and agencies should band together, led by the Army Corps of Engineers, to be funded at levels to resolve the problem, just as they would following any other natural disaster."

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Grayson filed an extension for his 2015 personal financial disclosure. Here's what his 2014 disclosure shows: Assets: Between $40 million and $110 million from 80 sources, including at least $2 million invested in his controversial funds Liabilities: A home mortgage valued at $500,000 to $1 million and a margin balance of $5 million to $25 million Income: Grayson reported $2 million to $12 million in income, as well as his $174,000 congressional salary

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $2.7 million Expenditures: $1.7 million

Personal: 

Grayson recently married his third wife, Dena, who is running for his old congressional seat. He has five children from his second marriage to Lolita Grayson: Skye, Star, Sage, Storm and Stone.

On the web: 

www.senatorwithguts.com @AlanGrayson

Pam Keith

Profession: 

U.S. Senate candidate

About the candidate: 

A former U.S. Naval Judge Advocate General's Corps lawyer and labor attorney, Keith, 47, moved to Florida in 2011 to work for Florida Power & Light. Now living in Miami, Keith doesn't apologize for her lack of political experience. Given her background, she's more familiar with federal issues. "This is what I'm qualified for," Keith said, who added she filed to run only after Murphy told her he wasn't running. How does she feel that Murphy and Grayson are getting all the attention and money? "Voters are sick of fakes." That's Murphy. "Voters are sick of the idea that there is a completely different set of rules that apply to people who have power or money." That would be Grayson. "My problem is money. Out of the three of us, my problem is fixable."

Education: 

University of California, Davis, bachelor's and master's in rhetoric and communication; Boston College Law School, law degree

Do you support or oppose ending the economic embargo with Cuba? 

"I support opening diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba for three reasons: (1) the previous policy was not effective in either changing the regime or in advancing the interests of the United States, (2) opening channels of communication and trade is far more likely to lead to areas of mutual agreement and cooperation, and (3) increased trade with Cuba has a better chance of ameliorating conditions in Cuba than isolation and embargo have."

Do you support or oppose restrictions on the capacity of firearm ammunition clips? 

"The right to bear arms is not limitless, and in no circumstances does it include a right to do mayhem. High capacity clips are reserved for the kind of weapons used in war and armed conflict. They are not necessary for self-defense or hunting. I reject the notion that the Second Amendment was written to turn individuals into solo police forces, vigilantes or mercenaries. There was a time when such weapons did not exist, and certainly civilians were able to do fine without them."

Name one policy in which you agree with the opposing party and explain why.: 

"I believe that the use of drones in combatting ISIS is necessary. I do not support the use of U.S. military ground forces in Iraq and Syria, nor do I support any form of 'carpet bombing,' which is both ineffective and immoral. Drones currently provide the allied forces the best capability to weaken and disturb ISIS operations, munitions and command and control structures. I would, however, be willing to entertain measures to reduce civilian casualties and to expand and improve the effectiveness of Sunni Arab forces in the war against ISIS."

As a toxic algae bloom chokes several state waterways, how should the federal government respond, and who do you believe is to blame? 

"The biggest contributors are pesticides and fertilizer in runoff water and septic system seepage. That gets into the water in Lake Okeechobee. When large volumes of that water are channeled into the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, it flows into the estuaries and changes the salinity of the wetlands and water ways. That allows the algae blooms to occur. The better solution is to allow water from Lake Okeechobee to flow south into the Everglades, which needs water. But that would require reclaiming farm land south of the lake for that purpose. I think that needs to happen now, but it's being blocked by the sugar growers. I would support taking the land through federal eminent domain. Flowing the water south will help save our estuaries, but the runoff issue is still problematic. We need to take a hard look at altering what is being put on the land and upgrading sewer systems."

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: Homes in Washington, D.C., Chicago, North Palm Beach and Loysville, Penn. Less than $50,000 in checking account Liabilities: Four mortgages, a line of credit, a pending civil judgment of less than $50,000 Income: None

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $204,460 Expenditures: $221,970

Personal: 

The daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, Keith was born in Turkey. Her family, which includes a brother, moved to Morocco, Syria, Oakland, Calif., Lexington, Ky., Washington D.C., France, and Brazil during her childhood. She is single.

On the web: 

www.pamkeithforsenate2016.com [email protected] @PamKeith2016

Patrick Murphy

Profession: 

U.S. Representative

About the candidate: 

Murphy, 33, is a second-term congressman whose previous campaigns have emphasized bipartisanship in a conservative Palm Beach district. Now, he's flagging to the left. His Senate run has earned the backing of national labor groups, as well as Democratic Party leaders like President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who has campaigned with Murphy in Florida. But he has come under fire for questions about his resume and claims that he spent six months leading oil spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico for his family's company, Coastal Construction.

Education: 

University of Miami, bachelor's degree in finance and accounting

Do you support or oppose ending the economic embargo with Cuba? 

"The Cuban people have suffered enough under an embargo that hasn't worked for decades. We need to begin to open relations to help Cuban people make change and expose the Castro regime. That said, human rights violations are absolutely unacceptable and we need to continue targeted sanctions on regime officials who commit these violations."

Do you support or oppose restrictions on the capacity of firearm ammunition clips? 

"Along with most Floridians, I support background checks for online, gun show, and private gun purchases. I am strongly in favor of closing the terrorist gun loophole and preventing suspected terrorists from purchasing guns. I also do not believe that civilians need access to military-style assault weapons."

Name one policy in which you agree with the opposing party and explain why.: 

"I have worked with Republicans and Democrats to cut inefficient and duplicative government spending, introducing bipartisan legislation called the SAVE Act that will eliminate $479 billion in waste. I believe strongly in working with people to get things done for Florida families."

As a toxic algae bloom chokes several state waterways, how should the federal government respond, and who do you believe is to blame? 

"The only way to solve this decades-old problem is by all levels of government working together. That means the federal government must fully fund and expedite Everglades restoration and other critical water infrastructure projects like reinforcing the Herbert Hoover Dike. At the same time, the state must not only work with the federal government on its share of these projects, but also use Amendment 1 funds as a majority of Florida voters intended to buy land for water storage and treatment areas."

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: $1 million to $5 million, mostly from family stock in Coastal Construction, worth between $1 million and $5 million. Liabilities: A home mortgage valued at $500,000 to $1 million Income: Murphy reported $100,000 to $1 million in 2015 interest payments, mostly from his stake in Coastal Construction, in addition to his $174,000 Congressional salary

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $10.1 million Expenditures: $3.5 million

Personal: 

Murphy is single and has no children.

On the web: 

www.murphyforflorida.com @PatrickMurphyFL

U.S. Senate | Democratic primary, Alan Grayson v. Pam Keith v. Patrick Murphy 08/18/16 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2016 12:29pm]
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