August 18, 2016

Marco Rubio launches new ad, "Daughter"

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@ByKristenMClark

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.

Rubio says he's raised more than $3M since July 1

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@ByKristenMClark

Incumbent Republican Marco Rubio's campaign announced today that the U.S. senator has brought in almost $5.5 million since he launched his re-election bid in late June.

That includes about $3.25 million that was raised since July 1 alone, the campaign said.

The campaign reported having $4.6 million in the bank, as of Aug. 10.

Rubio's camp noted that all donations came as a result of "direct contributions," as opposed to money raised through joint fundraising committees.

Today is the deadline for U.S. Senate campaigns in Florida to file their pre-primary campaign finance reports, covering July 1 through Aug. 10. Between Aug. 11 and Aug. 27, campaigns are require to report any contributions in excess of $1,000 within 48 hours.

The primary is Aug. 30, and mail-in and in-person early voting are already underway.

Rubio is the first of the U.S. Senate candidates to release their pre-primary figures.

Photo credit: José A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

August 17, 2016

Marco Rubio: Patrick Murphy is 'lazy' and 'feels entitled' to U.S. Senate seat

IMG_AP_rubio

@ByKristenMClark

Speaking on a conservative talk radio show this morning, incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio gave blistering criticism of his potential Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy -- foreshadowing Rubio's attacks for a likely general election match-up.

"Lazy." "Privileged." "Entitled."

Those are the words Rubio used to describe Murphy during an interview with John Hinderaker on "The Laura Ingraham Show." They are some of Rubio's harshest descriptions to date of Murphy -- the leading Democrat in the Aug. 30 primary for U.S. Senate.

For his part, Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, has been directly attacking Rubio for weeks -- emphasizing Rubio's poor attendance record in the Senate and his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Both Rubio and Murphy have largely ignored their primary opponents.

Hinderaker asked Rubio about the two Democratic front-runners in this month's primary, Murphy and fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, and Rubio acknowledged Grayson only briefly.

"Alan Grayson, as I've said before, is not well," Rubio said. "I don't say this lightly because it's a term that's thrown around loosely -- but Alan Grayson is an unstable person."

Rubio then laid into Murphy at length -- attacking his work ethic, his affluent upbringing, his voting record, and for embellishing his resume.

"Patrick Murphy is an unreliable person," Rubio said. "He’s lazy; he’s not a very hard worker. He’s not a guy that you can see his campaign. He barely does events, he kind of just is phoning it in, and I think he feels entitled to it."

Continue reading "Marco Rubio: Patrick Murphy is 'lazy' and 'feels entitled' to U.S. Senate seat" »

Congressional Black Caucus supports Patrick Murphy, drawing backlash from Pam Keith

Patrickmurphy01wmm@ByKristenMClark

Democrat Patrick Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign announced today that it has picked up another endorsement -- this one from the Congressional Black Caucus.

In a statement provided by the Murphy campaign, the caucus' political action committee chairman U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York praised Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, for "his passion on the issues that matter to Florida communities firsthand."

"We know that he will be a great senator who shows up and works hard for Florida," Meeks said.

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC states its mission as "working to increase the number of African Americans in the U.S. Congress, supporting non-black candidates that champion our interests, and promoting African American participation in the political process-with an emphasis on young voters."

It's unknown whether the caucus gave any consideration to Murphy's main primary competitors -- fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Orlando, or Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith, who is African American and the only woman in the Senate race. (Grayson and Murphy are both white.)

Keith criticized the endorsement -- alleging that it was a reward for Murphy's financial support of the caucus' members through political contributions.

"Patrick Murphy, his PACs and his parents and family have donated liberally to current members of the CBC to obtain their support," Keith said in a statement. "Therefore, this endorsement has nothing to do with the candidate best suited to represent African American voters or who has an actual platform of ideas to address issues facing the African American community, and has everything to do with the candidate best suited to financially assist CBC members in their own races. In that regard, Patrick Murphy's personal wealth definitely leads the pack."

Murphy said he was "proud" of the caucus' support and reiterated his vow to "fight for our progressive priorities," such as criminal justice reform and raising the minimum wage.

African American voters make up about 28 percent of the 4.7 million registered Democrats able to vote in the Aug. 30 primary.

August 11, 2016

Poll: Florida voters strongly favor some gun control

via @learyreports

Nine in 10 Florida voters say it’s “very important” or “somewhat important” to make it harder for criminals to get guns, according to polling released Thursday by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group fronted by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.

Conducted by the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling, the survey shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by three percentage points, 46-43.

In the Senate race, Marco Rubio leads Patrick Murphy 42-40, within the margin of error.

From a polling memo:

-- Almost three in four Florida voters (73%) would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports requiring a criminal background check to buy a firearm.

-- Even candidates with a broader message of strengthening gun laws are embraced by a majority of Florida voters (58%) would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports comprehensive gun reform.

-- Florida voters are overwhelmingly in favor of the gun proposals introduced in Congress this year. 85% of voters support prohibiting individuals on the FBI Terror Watch List from buying guns, and 83% support requiring background checks on all gun sales, including those sold online or at gun shows.

PPP surveyed 938 registered Florida voters from August 5-7, 2016. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.2%. 80% of interviews for the poll were conducted over the phone with 20% interviewed over the internet to reach respondents who don’t have landline telephones.

 

Murphy attacks Rubio over skipping newspaper editorial board interviews

IMG_AP_rubio@ByKristenMClark

In a week where Patrick Murphy is drawing criticism for avoiding voters, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is accusing Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio of the same.

Expanding on attacks on Rubio's poor Senate attendance record, Murphy's campaign today blasted Rubio for "not showing up" to meet with the editorial boards of Florida's newspapers.

Such meetings are traditional in election years. They help educate newspaper editorial boards about the candidates and factor into any endorsements the boards might make ahead of Election Day.

Some Florida newspapers, including the Tampa Bay Times, are already announcing their endorsements for the upcoming Aug. 30 primary -- for which absentee voting is underway and early voting starts in several major counties next week.

The Sun Sentinel this week announced it wouldn't endorse in the Republican U.S. Senate primary between Rubio and Manatee County home-builder Carlos Beruff. The newspaper said Rubio ignored their invitations to meet with its editorial board and "we cannot find that he's met with any Florida editorial board."

Rubio has not met with either the Miami Herald or the Times editorial boards. Murphy sat down with each newspaper two weeks ago. 

"Marco Rubio didn’t show up for Florida in the U.S. Senate, and now he’s not showing up to meet with Florida press and constituents," Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement. "Meeting with editorial boards is a routine way for public servants to be held accountable for their actions — and Floridians deserve answers from a senator who has always put his personal ambition ahead of Florida. Floridians have tough questions for Marco Rubio. But, as usual, he's nowhere to be found."

In response, Rubio's campaign knocked Murphy for "desperately trying to change the subject after they were caught hiding their candidate from voters and the media for several months."

Continue reading "Murphy attacks Rubio over skipping newspaper editorial board interviews" »

August 10, 2016

Video: Patrick Murphy backer Alex Sink says he should debate Alan Grayson

via @adamsmithtimes

Former CFO and Democratic candidate for governor Alex Sink appeared as part of another star-studded panel on WEDU's Florida This Week in Tampa Bay last week and said it was "bad for democracy" that her favored U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy refused to participate in a televised debate with Democrat Alan Grayson.

"The optics look bad, I believe, for our candidates not to be willing to get up in front of the public and let the voters decide for themselves," Sink said. "I wish Patrick would get up and make his case for why he should be the nominee for the Democratic side, and likewise, I believe Marco Rubio ought to be out there debating Carlos Beruff."

Hillsborough GOP Chairman and former state Rep. Deborah Tamargo agreed that both Rubio and Murphy should debate their primary opponents. The segment starts at about 10:20:

Broward activist ejected from Democratic club meeting for confronting Patrick Murphy

Murphy-plantation

@ByKristenMClark

A liberal activist in Broward County was booted from a local Democratic club meeting Tuesday night after confronting U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy about why Murphy won’t debate his primary opponent, Alan Grayson.

Joe Kreps, a Grayson supporter from Plantation, challenged Murphy to explain why he backed out of the debate with Grayson this week, the only one planned ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.

“All I wanted was an answer to my question.... It’s got to stop. Somebody’s got to stand up and say, ‘stop hiding,’” Kreps said.

But others at the Plantation Democratic Club’s meeting — which included a friendly audience of Murphy supporters — said Kreps was out of line for forcing his question on the Jupiter congressman. The club’s acting president, Ralph Rickel, on Wednesday admonished Kreps as “a real wackadoo” and an embarrassment.

More here.

Photo credit: Patrick Murphy U.S. Senate campaign

With few public events, Patrick Murphy under fire for avoiding voters

Senate 2016-Florida (2)

@ByKristenMClark

Democrat Patrick Murphy talks often about needing to introduce himself to Florida voters. To illustrate his efforts, the U.S. Senate candidate has, for months, claimed an aggressive campaign schedule — “dozens and dozens” of events from Key West to Pensacola in the past year.

But this summer, the Jupiter congressman has actually had relatively few public campaign stops — prompting opponents to accuse him of hiding from voters with less than three weeks to go before the Aug. 30 primary and as mail-in ballots are already being cast.

Based on media reports, campaign announcements and social media posts by Murphy, the Herald/Times identified just 14 campaign events Murphy has made publicly known between June 1 and Aug. 9. More than half of those were since July 25, the week of the Democratic National Convention when Murphy ramped up his campaign.

By comparison, Republican Marco Rubio has had at least 23 public events since July 18, and Democrat Alan Grayson has had at least 27 campaign stops since July 3.

More here.

Photo credit: AP

August 09, 2016

Patrick Murphy to speak to Democrats in Broward County

@ByKristenMClark

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is addressing a Democratic club in Broward County tonight.

Murphy is poised to give a short speech and possibly take questions from audience members during the Plantation Democratic Club's monthly meeting.

The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Diecke Auditorium at Hoffman Park in Plantation.

This will be the third local Democratic club Murphy has spoken to in the past couple weeks, as he ramps up his public presence on the campaign trail ahead of the Aug. 30 primary. In late July, he addressed the Democratic Women's Club of Bay County in Panama City and the Marion County Democratic Party in Ocala.