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Patrick Murphy won't debate Alan Grayson



The only debate in Florida's contentious Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate is cancelled.

In a surprise move, Democrat Patrick Murphy -- the leading contender in the race -- reneged this afternoon on a scheduled debate next week against fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and Murphy rejected his primary opponents' pleas for more debates ahead of the Aug. 30 election.

The reason?

Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, says allegations Grayson abused his ex-wife have "disqualified" Grayson from public service, and Murphy doesn't want to debate Grayson because of it.

"I cannot in good conscience give him a platform to promote himself and his campaign. As a result, I will not participate in any forums or debates with Alan Grayson," Murphy said in a statement this afternoon.

The statement was timed for release to coincide with a press conference Grayson and Pam Keith, a third Democrat in the race, had planned to hold in West Palm Beach to call on Murphy to agree to more debates.

More here.