October 13, 2016

Pro-Murphy groups plan UCF rally ahead of Monday's first U.S. Senate debate

Murphy primary nite 5 - richard graulich pbp


Political groups and voters supporting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy say they are planning a rally for Monday evening prior to Murphy's first debate against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

UCF students will join activists from several pro-Murphy groups, such as For Florida’s Future, America’s Voice, Working American Coalition PAC and iAmerica Action, according to a press release announcing the event. The rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. near the university's Alumni Center.

Murphy and Rubio will debate beginning at 7 p.m. The event will be broadcast statewide and streamed online. It's the first of two scheduled debates before Election Day, although a third debate is possible.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post

Tim Kaine to promote voter registration in South Florida this weekend


Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, will be back in South Florida this weekend to urge Floridians to register to vote ahead of the state's new Oct. 18 deadline.

Kaine plans to visit Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, where the Clinton campaign says he'll also discuss his and Clinton's economic plan.

Members of the public interested in attending the Miami event on Saturday afternoon can RSVP here. Additional details about the rest of the South Florida swing haven't been released yet.

A federal judge in Tallahassee on Wednesday delayed Florida's voter registration deadline by a week because of Hurricane Matthew, giving both Democrats and Republicans more time to rally potential new voters.

Leaked Clinton campaign email: 'I'm beginning to worry more about Rubio than the others'

via @learyreports

More signs the Clinton campaign feared Marco Rubio. Another email surfaces in the WikiLeaks hack of John Podesta.

"I’m beginning to worry more about Rubio than the others," pollster Joel Benenson wrote in a February 2015 email to Clinton's team. "He’s playing this very smart – only one who didn’t duck like a chicken shit on the Q of whether POTUS loves America. He has stronger right wing cred than Jeb and he’s finding a way to the middle enough for now and he will be the most exciting choice to Republicans. Could pose a real threat with Latinos etc."

In another email, Clinton's team was left impressed by Rubio's presidential announcement speech.


GOP ad featuring 9/11 footage accuses Dwight Bullard of meeting with 'terrorist'


@ByKristenMClark & @PatriciaMazzei

A political committee for Florida Senate Republicans has been running a Spanish-language ad on Miami TV for several weeks now that accuses incumbent state Sen. Dwight Bullard of spending time with a "terrorist" during a trip to the Middle East earlier this year.

The mostly black-and-white ad features footage from the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- specifically, of the second plane erupting into a ball of fire as it strikes the South Tower of the World Trade Center -- as well as news clips from the San Bernardino shooting last year and last month's explosion in Manhattan. It also shows men with cloths over their faces holding guns and waving flags with Arabic script on them.

"If images used in this ad are offensive or extreme, it's probably because meeting with terrorists in the Middle East is both offensive and extreme," said Erin Isaac, a spokeswoman for the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, which paid for the ad and is backing Bullard's opponent.

Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, is in a competitive fight for re-election this fall against Miami Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles in District 40 -- a central Miami-Dade County seat that is heavily Hispanic. The FRSCC's ad tries to persuade voters that Bullard has "radical ideas" and "irresponsible conduct" because of his recent trip to Palestine and Israel.

In a recent Herald/Times interview, Bullard dismissed the ad as "a desperation tactic" and called it "a bit far-fetched."

The ad's claims stem from information reported by NBC6 Miami in late August. The station said Bullard, while on a trip to Palestinian areas of Israel, was photographed with "a man linked to a terror group." Bullard told the station the man was a "tour guide in old Jerusalem" and he "had no idea" of his political affiliations.

"Do you know Dwight Bullard?" the FRSCC's ad begins, while showing a 2012 image of Bullard wearing a hoodie covering his head -- something he did as a state representative at the time to show solidarity for Trayvon Martin.

"While the world suffers from terrorism, Dwight Bullard traveled to Palestine and met with an organization listed on the state department's terrorist list," the narrator continues in Spanish. "Members of his own party denounced the trip. We can't remain silent while an elected Florida official meets with a terrorism group. Dwight Bullard: When you get to know his ideas and his conduct, they're more than alarming."

At one point, the ad shows a photo of Bullard's tour group, with a red arrow pointing to him -- "Bullard" -- and one pointing to another man -- labeling him "terrorist."

Asked for his thoughts on the ad, Artiles said in a statement: "As a former U.S. Marine and someone who put on the uniform and served to protect Americans from terror, I am offended that a public official would meet with a terrorist leader and unapologetically challenge Israel’s right to exist."

Bullard had told NBC6 that he is "pro-Israel, but I'm also pro-Palestine in that people can co-exist. ... My position is co-existence."

Bullard told the Herald/Times he's "not going to spend a whole lot of time trying to counter or answer" what he called the ad's "misinformation."

"What we are going to do is make sure people know who we're are, who the campaign is, who I am, what I've been about and highlight some positives," he said.

October 12, 2016

Daphne Campbell sends, retracts fundraising email on official House account



Prematurely describing herself as "New Senator Elect Daphne Campbell," the Miami Democratic state representative now seeking a state Senate seat accidentally sent out a fundraising invitation Wednesday afternoon on her official Florida House email account.

Campbell sent a follow-up email two hours later -- from a campaign email -- saying: "Please Ignore previous Email/Flyer which was sent by error from the State email by a Staff. See the corrected email ... Sorry for the error."

Both of Campbell's emails invited the recipient to join "the only Democratic nominee" for Senate District 38 for a fundraiser Wednesday night in Tallahassee. The event for Campbell was to be hosted by Oscar Braynon -- a Miami Gardens senator who will be the Senate Democrats' next leader.

At this point in the election cycle, all races have only one candidate from any political party. Florida's Aug. 30 primary determined party contenders for the general election.

With 31 percent of the vote, Campbell won a six-way primary to become the Democratic nominee in the District 38 race. But she's not guaranteed to be the "New Senator Elect" yet, as she called herself in the "From" line at the top of both emails.

Campbell faces former Democratic state Rep. Phillip Brutus on the Nov. 8 ballot. Brutus, of North Miami, is running as a no-party affiliated candidate in this election.

Neither candidate has raised much money this cycle, compared to other Miami-Dade state Senate races, which have attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars. As of Sept. 30 -- the most recent reporting date -- Campbell had raised about $100,000 so far this cycle and had about $4,400 in the bank. Meanwhile, Brutus had raised $12,300 -- in addition to $12,500 he's loaned his campaign -- and he'd spent about $11,400.

The winner will replace longtime state Sen. Gwen Margolis, who is retiring. The newly redrawn coastal District 38 roughly stretches from the MacArthur Causeway to the Broward County line and from the ocean to I-95.

Photo credit: State Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, in 2015. myfloridahouse.gov

*This post has been updated to correct Brutus' fundraising figures.

Florida GOP strategist, voting for Hillary Clinton, still supports Marco Rubio for Senate


Veteran GOP strategist Mac Stipanovich has been talking for a couple of days now about his decision to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, but on CNN this morning, Stipanovich said he's still voting for Marco Rubio in Florida's U.S. Senate race -- even though Rubio is standing by Trump in the wake of leaked footage showing Trump making lewd comments about women.

"I'm not too proud of Marco," Stipanovich told CNN in a telephone interview from Tallahassee.

He said Rubio "is not exactly a profile in courage" for maintaining his endorsement of Trump, after newly released "Access Hollywood" footage showed Trump making the now-infamous remarks in which he boasted about groping women without their consent.

But Stipanovich said maintaining a Republican majority in the Senate is vital, so that's why Rubio will get his vote in Florida's race. Rubio faces Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter.

Rubio said in a statement Tuesday that he has "consistently rejected [Trump's] offensive rhetoric and behavior" but he maintains his endorsement for him.

"I wish we had better choices for president. But I do not want Hillary Clinton to be our next president. And therefore my position has not changed," Rubio added.

Before Rubio re-affirmed his support for Trump, Stipanovich first told public radio on Monday that he was going to split the ticket and cast his ballot for Clinton and Rubio.

Murphy says he accepted Univision debate invitation Rubio agreed to a month ago

Murphy primary nite 1 - richard graulich pbp


After agreeing to only two televised U.S. Senate debates against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio, Democrat Patrick Murphy says he’s open to at least one more: a Univision-sponsored debate in Miami.

Murphy’s campaign — which has escalated its Hispanic outreach since late September — announced Wednesday morning that the Jupiter congressman had accepted a weeks-old invitation from Univision for a “Spanish-language debate.”

But Murphy — who isn’t fluent in the language — doesn’t want the debate to actually be in Spanish.

The campaign said Murphy “has requested that the debate be conducted in English and then dubbed in Spanish, like the 2014 [gubernatorial] debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, in order to ensure a fair playing field for both candidates.”

Rubio, who is Cuban-American, is fluent in Spanish and would be likely to speak in that language before a Hispanic viewing audience, as he has in previous debates.

More here.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / AP/The Palm Beach Post

October 11, 2016

Patrick Murphy to speak at Hillary Clinton event in Miami

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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy will be among the opening speakers for Hillary Clinton's climate change rally with Al Gore this afternoon in Miami, Murphy's campaign spokesman confirmed.

The event will mark the first time the Jupiter congressman and the Democratic presidential nominee have appeared at the same event in more than a year.

Despite her frequent treks to Florida, Clinton has largely ignored Murphy during her campaign stops in the state -- mentioning him for the first time at her most recent Florida rally in Coral Springs two weeks ago. (However, she didn't acknowledge him or his Senate contest earlier that day while she campaigned in Murphy's own congressional district.)

The omissions of Murphy shout-outs by Clinton in recent weeks were noticeable, because Democrats have -- for more than 18 months -- touted Murphy as among their prized candidates who could help them win back control of the U.S. Senate, something that would be vital to a Clinton White House.

Clinton formally endorsed Murphy in early September shortly after the Herald/Times noted she wasn't acknowledging Murphy at her Florida campaign stops. Clinton usually praises local and state Democratic officials and top candidates during her rallies, particularly -- but not always -- when they're in the audience.

MORE: Clinton to trot out Gore, and all the memories he invokes

Murphy's campaign this fall cited scheduling conflicts as to why Murphy hadn't appeared with Clinton. For instance, he kept his commitment to a fundraiser in New York City instead of going to Clinton's campaign stop in his district on Sept. 30.

He wasn't at the Coral Springs event that day either, when Clinton said she hoped Democrats would "send some reinforcements" by electing Murphy to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in Washington, D.C.

"I think Florida deserves a full-time senator, don't you?" Clinton said to applause, while not-so-subtly referencing Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and his poor attendance record.

Murphy and Clinton have not been at the same event together since Oct. 2, 2015, when he attended a Clinton campaign event at Broward College.

Today's joint appearance comes at a time when Murphy -- still relatively unknown statewide, according to recent polls -- hasn't gained consistent ground in statewide polls this fall, has struggled with his fundraising against Rubio, and has lost crucial and lucrative financial support from national Democratic groups a month out from Election Day.

Both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- an early endorser of Murphy -- and the Senate Majority super PAC have scrapped millions of dollars in advertising support planned for Florida in favor of potentially more winnable Senate races elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Rubio has yet to campaign with Donald Trump, but unlike the Murphy-Clinton alliance, Rubio's allegiance to Trump has increasingly become a vulnerability for him -- something Murphy has pounced on.

MORE: Rubio shows ‘cowardice’ in ‘silently standing by’ Trump, candidate Murphy says

Since the so-called "Trump tape" was released Friday -- showing Trump making lewd comments about women and bragging about groping their genitals -- Rubio has fallen off the radar. He released a tweet admonishing Trump's comments late Friday, but he hasn't withdrawn his endorsement of the Republican presidential nominee as other top Republicans have.

Rubio's campaign team won't respond to questions about it and they haven't released any statements or announced any campaign events since before Friday (when Hurricane Matthew was simultaneously bombarding Florida's east coast).

Trump and Rubio will be in close proximity to one another on Thursday, though. Trump has a noon rally scheduled at the South Florida Fair Expo Center in West Palm Beach, while Rubio has a Middle East policy discussion scheduled that morning in nearby Boca Raton.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post

October 10, 2016

Marco Rubio accuses Patrick Murphy of 'lying' using example that's actually true


In a new Spanish-language ad, Marco Rubio uses this image of a headline -- taken from an ad by his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy -- as an example of a "false" claim by Murphy. However, as the headline reads, Rubio did tell Politico he doesn't support abortions for women infected with Zika. Marco Rubio campaign / YouTube.


In a new Spanish-language ad, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio accuses his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy, of lying -- but the specific example Rubio's ad uses to back that up is actually a true statement about one of the Republican incumbent's policy positions.

Rubio's new ad gives an example of a "false" claim by Murphy as being that Rubio opposes abortions for women infected with the Zika virus. But Rubio, who is stridently pro-life, has said himself he opposes them.

Murphy's campaign said Rubio is either "lying" in his new ad by calling Murphy's claim "false" or he must have quietly changed his position.

"It’s a fact that Rubio has stood with the far-right and is wholly opposed to a woman’s right to choose," Murphy campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen said. "Either Rubio added his pro-life stance to his long list of flip-flops and forgot to let voters know, or he is brazenly lying to Florida families. Either way, Floridians deserve answers."

Rubio's campaign launched the ad in question last week and further promoted it Monday. As a narrator says Murphy "lies" about Rubio, viewers see a Politico headline on screen that reads (in Spanish) "Marco Rubio: No abortions for Zika-infected women," followed by a stamp of "False" across an image of Murphy.

As Murphy's campaign points out, Rubio said publicly he doesn't support abortions for women infected with Zika. He told Politico specifically: "When you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one. But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life."

Rubio campaign spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas would not explain to the Herald/Times how Rubio can claim this attack by Murphy is "false."

In a statement Monday, Perez-Cubas said Murphy has "repeatedly distorted Marco's record" and then she attacked Murphy for his "extreme left-wing positions" in supporting abortion. She offered no direct rebuttal to Slayen's either/or accusation.

The image in Rubio's ad came from Murphy's first Spanish-language ad. (Murphy allies have also used the same headline in ads attacking Rubio.)

Here's the Rubio ad in question:

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