Wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan, who has funded efforts to approve medical marijuana in Florida and backed Charlie Crist’s failed campaign for governor last year, said that he told U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson not to run for Senate.
Grayson, of Orlando, is expected to announce his Senate bid Thursday setting up a primary battle with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter.
Morgan said he had lunch with Grayson in recent weeks at Houstons in Winter Park and later exchanged emails with him trying to talk him out of running. Morgan said he doesn’t believe Grayson can win a statewide general election race and says it would be a “shame” to lose his national progressive voice. (Hat tip to the AP which reported this earlier.)
“I made that pitch to him,” Morgan said. “I told him that I did not believe he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the general election and he could also become a drag in the presidential race in Florida.”
Morgan said that the Democratic nominee for president may not want to share the stage with Grayson in Florida while campaigning.
Morgan said that he considers Grayson a friend but plans to stay out of the race despite agreeing with his views.
“I’m not going to give him money, he’s rich, he will have money,” Morgan said. “I don’t approve of this campaign but I do approve of him. I love 90 percent of what he says and does. He is a little harder-edged than I would be -- I’m pretty bombastic myself.”
Morgan said that Grayson doesn’t understand the attacks he will face during the primary related to his divorce and a controversy about the hedge funds.
“He inoculated himself those worries,” Morgan said. “He is going to be sorely disappointed when people and groups and unions he thought would be there for him and they are not.”
But Grayson wants to run.
“We were leaving the restaurant and some guys yelled from the bar, they yelled “run for Senate!” and he looks at me and says see? Later I said to him “Alan, people urge me to run for governor -- that doesn’t mean sh--.”
Earlier this year, Morgan warned that he would oppose a Senate bid by DNC chair and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston. That was amid a fight over her opposition to medical marijuana, Politico reported. She ultimately decided not to run.