Calling them "baseless attacks by Republicans," Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy on Monday dismissed and downplayed recent media reports that have demonstrated ways Murphy has exaggerated his academic and job credentials or contradicted himself on his accomplishments.
Murphy said he's "absolutely not" embellished his resume and he shifted blame to Republican operatives.
"This is just more baseless attacks by the Republicans who are clearly just trying to help my primary opponent, Alan Grayson," Murphy said, speaking with reporters in Tallahassee after he filed paperwork to qualify for the 2016 elections. "They want him to be the nominee. They're not even hiding that; they're saying it straight up right now."
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Republicans have mentioned they'd prefer Grayson win the primary, but that's because polls show Grayson is more vulnerable to the Republican slate of candidates, while Murphy maintains a strong lead over each of them.
"They're digging right now, and they're trying to find something that just simply doesn't exist," Murphy said, deflecting with campaign talking points.
It's common for Republican and Democratic operatives -- and especially candidate's campaigns -- to offer story ideas to political journalists. But in this case, the stories didn't arise from such tips. They've come, instead, from reporters at the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times and Politico Florida vetting Murphy's background and uncovering discrepancies between what he has said publicly in his Senate campaign and what public records and his own previous accounts have shown.
A pattern has developed -- with questions about his University of Miami education, his time "leading cleanup efforts" after the 2010 BP oil spill and, most recently, how much time he spent working professionally as a certified public accountant.
Murphy, Grayson and political newcomer Pam Keith are competing in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.