Obama, Biden pick Senate primary favorites in Ohio, Florida

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden inserted themselves into the 2016 election Wednesday endorsing two Democratic nominees in their respective Senate primary races: Congressman Patrick Murphy of Florida and former Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio.

The endorsement from the two leaders of the Democratic Party comes as a boost to Murphy, who is behind Rep. Alan Grayson in recent polls for the Senate seat vacated by Marco Rubio.
The Florida primary contest for the Democratic nominee has already received national attention. In 2015, it was revealed that Grayson was running a hedge fund while serving in Congress.
    In February, The New York Times reported that emails and marketing documents obtained by the newspaper showed that Grayson's roles as a hedge fund manager and a congressman intertwined, including promoting his status as a congressman to steer business.
    Following the report the House Ethics Committee acknowledged it was conducting a review into Grayson, with a decision due by April 5. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also called for Grayson to drop out of the race in February.
    "I am proud to endorse Congressman Patrick Murphy for the United States Senate," Obama wrote in a news release Wednesday. "Patrick has been a tireless champion for middle-class families and a defender of the economic progress that American workers and businesses have made."
    Last week Murphy also flew with Obama on Air Force One to Jacksonville, Florida, where the President delivered remarks on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
    But Grayson has led Murphy in recent polling.
    "I would be very surprised if I ever lost a primary in my life," Grayson boasted to CNN in May. "Our voters will crawl over hot coals to vote for me."
    While neither Obama nor Biden have endorsed a Democrat in the presidential primary, Murphy has endorsed Hillary Clinton and Grayson has endorsed Bernie Sanders on Twitter.
    Obama and Biden also announced their endorsements of Strickland, the former governor of Ohio, over City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld on Wednesday.
    "Ohioans have no greater friend than Ted Strickland," Obama said in the joint statement. "Ted is a passionate and proven champion for the middle class, and when Ohio sends him to the United States Senate, he will continue to be a tireless fighter for hardworking families. Ted's deep commitment to serving others has defined his life and his public service, and these are the values that Ohioans need and deserve from their next U.S. senator."
    The winner of the Democratic primary race in Ohio will face incumbent Sen. Rob Portman in November.