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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has won the Democratic nomination to face Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Murphy defeated fiery liberal Rep. Alan Grayson on Tuesday, aided by the backing of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Following his victory, Murphy released the following statement:

“I am honored to earn the Democratic nomination to be Florida’s next U.S. Senator,” said Rep. Murphy. “Over the past year, I have met and listened to so many hardworking families from across our state. They deserve a Senator who values hard work, and who will always put them first. Together, I know that we can strengthen our middle class, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, pass meaningful legislation to curb gun violence, and defend a woman’s right to choose.”

He’s seen as a Democrat who appeals to moderate Republicans and Independents.

Murphy appeared confident in the final weeks of the election, virtually ignoring Grayson and focusing instead on Rubio. His statement also focused on Rubio.

“For the past six years, Marco Rubio has put himself first, failing to show up for his job except when it benefits his special interest campaign donors. Senator Rubio put his personal ambition ahead of Florida’s middle class, earning the worst vote attendance record for a Florida Senator in nearly 50 years. Floridians are ready for a Senator who puts them first, and we’re going to make that a reality this November.”

He reiterated that to supporters in Palm Beach County where he celebrated his victory.

“The single greatest barrier holding this country back is the finger pointing the name calling the gridlock in Washington,” he said. “Marco Rubio is the worst of Washington because he puts himself first every single time.”

Murphy was first elected to the House in 2012, defeating incumbent tea party conservative Allen West.

While Grayson has more consistently voted for Democratic priorities and Obama’s agenda, many party leaders thought he was unelectable because of his brash demeanor.

Murphy has criticized Rubio as caring more about his political ambitions then his constituents, while Republicans have criticized Murphy for embellishing his resume and lack of experience.


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