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Abuse allegations roil Florida Senate race

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson lost endorsements from liberal groups Tuesday after the mother of his children revealed police reports alleging decades of domestic abuse.

Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee rescinded endorsements in Grayson’s Senate primary against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy after Politico reported the allegations made by Lolita Grayson.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, who is running for the U.S. Senate, talks with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board June 30 in Tampa. (AP photo: Tampa Bay Times)

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, who is running for the U.S. Senate, talks with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board June 30 in Tampa. (AP photo: Tampa Bay Times)

Their 25-year marriage was annulled last year after Grayson learned during their messy divorce that she was still married to another man when they wed.

“Unfortunately, this deeply disappointing revelation means progressives have no great options in the Florida race for Senate,” they said. Their joint statement said it’s the first withdrawn endorsement for either group.

Lolita Grayson provided Politico with four police reports dating from 1994 to 2014. In them, she claimed Grayson abused her often over the years.

Grayson’s lawyer said the claims were false and simply an attempt to hurt his campaign.

“It is unfortunate that these discredited and utterly false allegations have had their intended effect — to smear an innocent victim in a vain effort to derail a Senate campaign and distract voters from the issues that matter to them,” lawyer Mark NeJame said in a statement issued by the campaign.

NeJame said the oldest three of the former couple’s five children “sought refuge from their mother by choosing to live with their dad.”

Lolita Grayson told Fairfax County, Virginia, police in 1994 and 1999 that the congressman had been hitting her for several years. In 2005, she made a similar claim to the Orange County Sheriff’s office, saying he had previously hit her “four or five times,” but she didn’t want to have him arrested.

Shortly after she filed for divorce in 2014, she told police the congressman shoved her into a door, but the investigation was quickly closed after police were given video, taken by a congressional staffer, that showed she struck him, but he didn’t hit her.

After Tuesday’s story was published, Grayson went to a Democratic National Convention event sponsored by Politico and threated to call police on a reporter who questioned him about the claims. The news organization posted video of the confrontation.

“You’re getting in my way, my friend! You’re assaulting a member of Congress!” Grayson shouted at Edward-Isaac Dovere. “You pushed me!”

Dovere replied that it was Grayson who pushed him.

Grayson and Murphy are seeking the seat now held by Republican Marco Rubio, who is being challenged in the Aug. 30 primary by developer Carlos Beruff.

Grayson was first elected to Congress in 2008, lost his seat in 2010 and was elected again in 2012. Grayson didn’t return a message left on his cell phone. Ms. Grayson didn’t return messages on numbers listed for her. Her lawyer also didn’t return a message left with his office.

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