August 19, 2016

Patrick Murphy blasts Marco Rubio for 'terrible record on women’s health'


A day after Marco Rubio unveiled a new TV ad that showcases how he helped a mother get cancer drugs for her daughter, Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is accusing the incumbent Republican U.S. senator of trying to "to paper over his terrible record on women’s health."

In Rubio's ad, Blanquita Trabold talks of how Rubio worked with the Food and Drug Administration to secure a yet-unapproved cancer drug that helped her daughter, who was battling breast cancer.

Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign says Rubio is using the ad to "distract Floridians from the facts" -- including Rubio's opposition to abortion and his support for repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood.

VOTERS GUIDE: "Florida, meet your U.S. Senate candidates"

"It will take a lot more than special interest money to distract from Marco Rubio’s disastrous record on basic rights for Florida women," Murphy campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement. "Instead of waging extremist crusades on a woman’s right to choose, Rubio should focus on showing up to the U.S. Senate and doing his job. Florida women deserve better than an absentee senator who has never fought for them."

In response, Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens said: "Leave it to Patrick Murphy to try to politicize cancer. Marco is proud to have helped this Florida mother receive the medication her daughter needed and will continue to fight for all of Florida's families."

Polls have Murphy leading the Democratic field in the upcoming Aug. 30 primary -- which is why he's already aggressively targeting Rubio for a likely general election match-up. Republican groups supporting Rubio are also on the offensive against Murphy.

Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, faces fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando and Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith in this month's primary. Manatee County home-builder Carlos Beruff is challenging Rubio.

Image credit: Rubio ad, "Daughter"

Get to know Florida's U.S. Senate contenders in the August primary



In Florida’s closely watched and highly competitive U.S. Senate race, four Republicans and five Democrats are competing in the Aug. 30 primaries for coveted spots on the general election ballot.

Incumbent Republican Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy are the most well-known names on each party’s ballot, but they face resilient challengers hoping to edge out a come-from-behind victory.

After a failed presidential run, Rubio wants to stay in office for another six-year term, while Democrats are pulling no punches to unseat him — pouring money and high-profile endorsements behind Murphy’s bid, in particular. Democrats hope a victory in Florida’s race will help them win back control of the U.S. Senate in 2017.

Click here to learn about the top contenders for Florida’s U.S. Senate contest.

MORE: Miami Herald's Voters Guide

Pivotal party primaries will decide a quarter of Florida's legislative seats


via @stevebousquet

It’s called a primary, but the election on Aug. 30 could be a defining moment for the Florida Legislature.

Across the state, primary races soon to be decided by a relative handful of voters may determine whether the Florida Senate stays on its moderate course or shifts to the right as new battles loom over abortion, education, guns and the environment.

The primary may decide whether Gov. Rick Scott will have more friends in the Capitol next spring, and whether deep-pocket newcomers can duplicate Scott’s success and use their personal wealth to catapult themselves to office.

From Miami to Pensacola, primary candidates and their allies are spending millions on TV spots, mailers, polls and phone calls, some of it highly personal, most of it negative, and all of it aimed at “super voters” who faithfully show up in primary elections.

“The primaries this year seem to be very intense,” said Marian Johnson, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s long-time political director. “The question is, how many people will come out?”

More here.

Photo credit: The Florida House during debate in the final week of the 2016 session. Scott Keeler / Tampa Bay Times

August 18, 2016

Florida trendline shows Donald Trump losing ground

via @adamsmithtimes

Amid all the talk lately about Donald Trump flailing and falling way behind Hillary Clinton in key battleground states, it's worth reminding everybody that, Florida being Florida, we should expect another close presidential election in the America's biggest battleground state.

In the last six presidential elections, after all, Florida has produced three Democratic victories and three Republican victories (one of those, the tied race of 2000). The average margin of victory over those six races was 2.7 percentage points, with the most lopsided result being Bill Clinton's 5.7 point win over Bob Dole and Ross Perot in 1996.

That said, Trump has lost ground in recent weeks in must-win Florida.

With 80 days before election day and less than 50 days before mail voting starts, Hillary Clinton leads Trump by 4.5 percentage points in the average of recent polls compiled by

Prior to the conventions, Florida was a dead heat, but the six polls conducted since then show the Democratic nominee leading by as much as 9 percentage points and as little as 1.

These numbers are not predictive, especially with the first debate still more than a month off. But for what it's worth, RealClear showed Mitt Romney leading by 1 percentage point at this point in 2012 and John McCain leading Barack Obama by nearly 3 at this point in 2008.

I haven't found an average for 2004, but a late August St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald poll showed George W. Bush leading John Kerry 48 percent to 46 percent in Florida.

Image credit:


PolitiFact Florida: Marco Rubio says he wrote, passed veteran affairs bill

MARCO+RUBIO358+JAIvia @jpgillin

Marco Rubio is touting his support for veterans in his latest campaign ad ahead of the Aug. 30 primary in the Florida Senate race.

The ad opens with snippets from veterans in the Army, Marines and Navy who are backing Rubio for his efforts to help veterans.

After a few testimonials, the screen cuts to text that reads, "Marco Rubio wrote and passed bipartisan legislation allowing the VA to fire negligent workers."

We wondered if this was correct, so we looked into it.

We learned that this is fairly accurate, with the one caveat being that his legislation was included in a larger bill, and passed as law with other reforms to the VA system.

We rate the statement Mostly True. To read more, click here.

Photo credit: Jose A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald


EMILY's List endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz


The powerful women-in-politics group, EMILY's List, has formally endorsed Weston Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's facing her first primary challenge in more than two decades.

EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock praised Wasserman Schultz as a "dedicated progressive public servant who has never stopped fighting for the hardworking families of Florida."

"Debbie has championed breast cancer advocacy, protected Social Security, and fought back against attacks on women’s access to health care," Schriock said in a statement. "As the first Jewish woman elected to represent Florida, Debbie has always been a trailblazer. The EMILY’s List community, over 3 million members strong, looks forward to supporting her bid for re-election."

EMILY's List -- which stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast -- works to help raise money for and elect women to public office.

Wasserman Schultz is in a tough primary battle against the progressive and Bernie Sanders-backed Tim Canova, who wants to unseat the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman in Florida's 23rd Congressional District. The district includes parts of Broward and northern Miami-Dade counties.

The last time Wasserman Schultz faced a primary opponent was 1992, when she ran for the state Legislature.

Latino labor groups aim to mobilize Florida voters against Trump



Leaders of several major Latino labor unions on Thursday declared their intent to rally Florida's Hispanic population to defeat Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and to oppose "the politics of hate."

Hispanics make up about 17 percent of Florida's electorate and are the fastest growing segment of the state's population. Voter participation among Hispanics is typically low, but labor leaders said they want to use their increased influence to make an impact in November. (They acknowledge they've said that for the past couple election cycles, but they emphasize this year really is different.)

"We’re turning this potential into a movement. We’re turning this potential out to the polls and we’re turning this potential into registering voters," Jessica Orozco, assistant vice president for policy for the Hispanic Federation, said during a press conference in Orlando.

MORE: "Hispanic growth in Florida: Will it determine the election?"

AFL-CIO executive vice president Tefere Gebre said the unions plan to use 1,000 volunteers and staff across Florida to canvass neighborhoods and to register and educate Latino voters everywhere from bodegas to schools. They also plan to use direct mail, phone banks and visits to work-sites to target Latino communities, he said.

"Latinos are energized and they’re willing to stand together against the politics of hate," Gebre said. "I’m proud to say I’m also an immigrant and a refugee, and I’ll stand up to politicians who attack our values and vote for those who are willing to stand with us. We are more American than Donald Trump will ever be."

Polls have shown Trump struggling with Hispanic voters. He alienated many with his disparaging comments last summer against Mexicans -- labeling some as "rapists" and criminals -- and with his proposal to build a wall along America's southern border.

"We call upon Latino workers across this country and across this state to say: 'no mas' ('no more')," said Esther Lopez, secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

"We are going to stand for opportunity and hope, and we are going to stand against hate," Lopez added. "We are going to stand for dignity. We are going to stand for the power of the Latino worker."

The union leaders said their policy priorities for this election include "immigration reform with dignity," protecting workers' rights and fighting for better education and housing opportunities.

Photo credit: Maria Lozano 50, and Gabriella Genao 20, speak to the media after voting for Hillary Clinton in Florida’s presidential primary March 15. Walter Michot / Miami Herald

Republicans slam Patrick Murphy for supporting Iran Deal


The National Republican Senatorial Committee has released a new attack ad against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy -- criticizing him for supporting the Iran Deal and being "just another rubber-stamp for the Obama-Clinton agenda."

Using a dramatic voice-over and background music, the web ad accuses "Democrats like Patrick Murphy" of "failing to keep us safe" from an "out-of-control" Iran.

The ad claims the Iran Deal allows the Middle East country to now have "a path to build a nuclear bomb" and says the U.S. has given them "billions of dollars in the process."

The ad also references a $400 million payment the U.S. made to Iran this year, which Republicans have called a "ransom" payment since it coincided with the release of four Americans held by Iran. (The Obama administration rejects that assertion and says the money was part of an overdue settlement owed to Iran.)

"The video holds Patrick Murphy accountable for recklessly supporting the Obama-Clinton appeasement of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," the NRSC said in a statement. "Back when he decided to defy the will of the American people, Murphy offered his full support for the Iran nuclear deal."

The NRSC is supporting incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate race. Polls have Murphy leading in the Democratic field, which is why he's been the Republicans' major target.

In response to the ad, Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen tried to turn the tables, saying: "It's Marco Rubio who will be the rubber stamp for Donald Trump's dangerous national security agenda."

"Marco Rubio is trusting 'con man' Donald Trump with our nation's nuclear codes and rarely attended important classified Intelligence meetings," Slayen said, repeating the Murphy campaign's line of attack against Rubio over his poor attendance in the Senate.

*This post has been updated with comment from Murphy's campaign.

Report: With Rubio 'running strong,' Koch brothers pull back money



A spokesman for the billionaire Koch brothers told The Hill on Wednesday that Charles and David Koch are pulling back on their financial assistance to Marco Rubio's re-election campaign.

The Hill reports the Koch brothers cancelled more than a half million dollars in Florida advertising intended to help the incumbent Republican U.S. senator for the week following the state's Aug. 30 primary.


Because "Rubio is running strong in Florida," Koch network spokesman James Davis told the newspaper.

Read the full story here.

This comes two weeks after the Rothenberg-Gonzales Political Report changed its assessment of Florida's Senate race from "pure toss-up" to leaning in Rubio's favor.

Polls have shown Rubio with a healthy lead in his primary against Carlos Beruff and with an edge over both of the leading Democratic candidates, U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, in general election match-ups.

Photo credit: José A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

Marco Rubio launches new ad, "Daughter"



Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio launched a new ad for his re-election campaign today.

The 30-second spot, called "Daughter," features a Florida mother, Blanquita Trabold, who speaks of how Rubio worked with the Food and Drug Administration to get a cancer drug that helped her daughter, who was battling breast cancer.

"He got me the medication within a week. Thanks to Marco, I had three more months with my daughter. Marco Rubio was there for me when I needed him most," Trabold says in the ad.

The ad will run in select major markets. It's being paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee using coordinated funds with Rubio's campaign.