During two U.S. Senate debates last month against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio, Democrat Patrick Murphy answered questions about Cuba policy by revealing a little-known detail about his personal life.
The Jupiter congressman -- a Miami native of Irish descent -- said he has Cuban family members.
"I have aunts and cousins that are Cuban," Murphy said at the first debate on Oct. 17. "I remember every Christmas Eve going around, sitting around the caja china (a Cuban pork roaster) talking about politics, talking about Cuba. So I understand that this is a very personal issue for many people."
Ten days later at the second debate, Murphy began his answer with a similar response when Cuba came up again.
"I have some Cuban relatives -- some are here this evening -- and have talked to them at length about this," Murphy said. "And I understand this is personal."
Although he gave similar answers across the two debates, this wasn't a standard line from Murphy's stump speech. It's unclear if he'd ever previously mentioned his family connection to Cuba during his nearly 20 months on the campaign trail.
His campaign told the Herald/Times this week that the relatives Murphy referenced are cousins-in-law.
Murphy's cousin Jimmy Murphy is married to Raquel, and another cousin Mike Murphy is married to Alicia; both women are Cuban-American, his campaign said.
Murphy is in rare company for a major party nominee for U.S. Senate in Florida by supporting an end to the Cuba embargo. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, wants to keep the embargo intact.
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