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Alan Grayson to announce whether he will run for Senate Thursday setting up Democratic battle with Patrick Murphy

U.S. Rep Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, will announce Thursday whether he will run for U.S. Senate, a source close to his campaign told the Miami Herald today.

That followed a report in Roll Call that Grayson will announce his Senate bid on TV Thursday, according to a source familiar with his plans.

Should he run, the battle between Grayson and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy will pit two widely different personalities against each other. Murphy was a Republican before he ran against tea party favorite Allen West in 2012 and ousted him. Since that time, Murphy has portrayed himself as a moderate and sometimes votes with Republicans including for the Keystone Pipeline.

Grayson is an outspoken liberal famous for his soundbites trashing Republicans such as when he compared Dick Cheney to a vampire. He has been dogged by news reports about his hedge funds which prompted requests for a Congressional investigation as well as his contentious divorce case which at one point was delayed when his wife's breast plants leaked.

Murphy, of Jupiter, announced in March his bid for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat. He has the backing of the party establishment including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and several Senators have given money to his campaign.

Part of the reason Murphy has drawn establishment support is that he has been a successful fundraiser. For two quarters in a row, Murphy has raised more than $1 million and now has about $2.5 million  cash on hand, according to his campaign.

In Murphy’s first campaign for office against West, Murphy raised $4.8 million in 2012. During the 2014 cycle, Murphy raised about $5.2 million and easily fended off a challenge from Republican Carl Domino.

During the first quarter of this year, Grayson raised about $200,000. His campaign hasn’t released his total for the second quarter, but it could be lower than Murphy’s since he hasn’t announced yet.

On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former Miami-Dade legislator and property appraiser, is expected to announce his bid for Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat July 15. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach launched his campaign in May; U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Chumuckla is considering a bid.