October 10, 2016

Murphy continues to rail against Rubio for 'silently standing by' Trump



Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy continued on Monday to pressure Republican incumbent Marco Rubio to drop his support for Donald Trump, after an 11-year-old video surfaced Friday that showed the Republican presidential nominee bragging about groping women by their genitals.

Rubio sent a tweet late Friday condemning Trump's recorded comments as "vulgar, egregious and impossible to justify," but he hasn't gone as far as other Republicans in withdrawing his endorsement of Trump.

In a morning call with reporters, Murphy said Rubio needs to do more to "stand up to Trump" instead of "silently standing by" while Trump "boasts about sexually assaulting women."

More here.

Photo credit: Walt Michot / Miami Herald

Patrick Murphy tries to turn Trump controversy against Marco Rubio


via @learyreports

Patrick Murphy is trying to raise money off Marco Rubio's "failure to stand up" to Donald Trump.

The Democrat issued a fundraising appeal Sunday that highlights that Rubio has not disavowed support for Trump, though Rubio did sharply criticize Trump's 2005 comments about women.

"This is a new low, even for Marco Rubio. Donald Trump is a threat to every value this country holds dear. Sen. Rubio’s cowardly failure to stand up to him shows that he’ll never stand up for Florida in the Senate," the fundraising letter reads.

Trump does present a problem for Rubio, who has been racing ahead of Murphy in fundraising terms as national Democrats have pulled back advertising.


October 09, 2016

Poll: Clinton leads Trump by 3 points in Florida, Rubio leads Murphy by 2 points




A new poll out Sunday from NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Marist finds Democrat Hillary Clinton edging out Republican Donald Trump in Florida, 45 percent to 42 percent, with nearly a month to go before Election Day.

Meanwhile, 5 percent of those surveyed in Florida supported Libertarian Gary Johnson and 3 percent favored Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

In a two-way contest, the poll found Clinton was far and away ahead of Trump among blacks (80 percentage-point lead), Latinos (36-point lead), young likely voters (32-point lead) and women (10-point lead). Trump led among men (7-point lead) and whites (19-point lead), particularly those without a college degree. His lead was only 4 percentage points among whites with a college degree, compared to 33 points for those without one, NBC said. (More here.)

The poll also gauged support in the U.S. Senate contest between Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy. It's too close to call, with the poll finding Rubio ahead of Murphy by just 2 percentage points. Rubio had 48 percent support among those surveyed, compared to 46 percent for Murphy.

About 2 percent supported another candidate and 4 percent were undecided, the poll found. It did not include others on the ballot for the Senate race: Libertarian Paul Stanton or the four no-party affiliation candidates.

Rubio has consistently led Murphy by various margins in all polls since June.

Between Oct. 3-5, NBC/WSJ/Marist surveyed 979 registered Florida voters (with a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points) and 700 likely Florida voters (with a margin of error of plus-minus 3.7 percentage points).

Image credit: NBC News

October 05, 2016

Rubio, Murphy won't reveal how much campaign cash they have



How much of a campaign warchest either Republican Marco Rubio or Democrat Patrick Murphy might have in the home-stretch of their U.S. Senate contest remains a mystery.

While Florida's top two U.S. Senate candidates were happy to announce their multi-million-dollar quarterly fundraising hauls this week, both campaigns omitted one key detail: how much cash they actually had in the bank to end the third quarter -- the final reporting period before Nov. 8.

And neither campaign seems willing to share that number, in contrast to previous reporting periods when they typically announced it alongside their fundraising total.

Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas told the Herald/Times the campaign wasn't releasing Rubio's number yet, and Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen did not return two email requests this week for Murphy's figure.

If the campaigns continue their silence, Floridians will have to wait to find out the candidates' cash on hand until after Rubio's and Murphy's quarterly reports are filed with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15, about three weeks before Election Day. (While the quarter ended Sept. 30, campaigns get two weeks to tally up their reports before submitting them.)

Murphy announced Monday that he'd raised $3.3 million during the past three months, while Rubio touted on Tuesday that he'd raised almost three times that in the same period: $9.6 million.

But that's only half the story. The candidates could have spent very little -- leaving them with vast resources in the final weeks -- or they could have gone on a spending-spree and are strapped for cash while trying to pull out a victory in a highly competitive race that could have national implications as to which party controls the U.S. Senate in 2017.

Time will tell which scenario it is for both contenders.

Photo credit: Palm Beach Post / AP

Patrick Murphy added to his campaign communications team in September


Democrat Patrick Murphy beefed up his communications team last month, as he entered the general election phase of his U.S. Senate campaign against Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Two months ahead of the November election, Murphy hired Peter True, a press secretary for retiring California Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

According to his LinkedIn page, True had worked for Boxer's office for more than four years. Before that, he held communications jobs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other U.S. Senate offices, including a few months as an intern in Harry Reid's office when Reid was majority leader in 2009.

True joined Murphy's campaign as its press secretary. Murphy's communications team is still led by communications director Joshua Karp and deputy communications director Galia Slayen.

Quinnipiac poll: Race between Rubio, Murphy still close

Rubio murphy


Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's lead over Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is narrow, according to the latest poll by Quinnipiac University.

The survey, done Sept. 27 through Oct. 2, found Rubio ahead of Murphy by 4 percentage points, with 48 percent supporting Rubio and 44 percent supporting Murphy. Eight percent were undecided.

That spread is just barely within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points, so the two could be statistically tied. The university surveyed 545 Florida likely voters in live interviews by landline and cell phones.

The last Quinnipiac poll, conducted right after the Aug. 30 party primaries, had Rubio up by 7 percentage points on Murphy.

"It looks like the battle to control the U.S. Senate will go down to the campaign's final days. The races in North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania could decide the matter," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.

Rubio has consistently led Murphy by various margins in every poll since Rubio announced his re-election bid in June, but "his margin over [Murphy] has never been large enough to make Sen. Rubio comfortable," Brown said.

Including the Q poll announced today, Real Clear Politics has Rubio with an average polling advantage of 5.2 percentage points over Murphy.

None of Quinnipiac's polls have included Libertarian Paul Stanton or the four independent candidates who will also be on the ballot: Tony KhouryBruce Nathan, Steven Machat and Basil E. Dalack.

Photo credit: AP / The Palm Beach Post

Gov. Rick Scott: Hurricane Matthew 'won't have an impact' on election

While a major hurricane threatens Florida's east coast this week, many residents are already starting to vote in the November election.

County supervisors of election sent out 2.5 million mail-in ballots this week to Florida voters who requested them, but Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott told reporters Wednesday that Hurricane Matthew "won't have an impact" on voting.

"The nice thing about our state is you have a lot of opportunities to vote," Scott said. "You can vote by mail, you can vote early and then you still have the opportunity to vote on Election Day. It's not like we have just one day in our state."

Scott made the remarks during a morning press conference in Tallahassee about the status of Hurricane Matthew and the state’s preparation efforts. More here.

October 04, 2016

Traffic tolls become issue in Bullard-Artiles Senate race



A Miami Republican state representative seeking to be promoted to the Florida Senate this fall says he’s “taking a stand against tolls” — tapping into a popular consumer issue that puts him at odds with some in his own party.

Frank Artiles, who’s running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard in Miami-Dade’s District 40, says he wants to fight back against “excessive and abusive tolls” that South Florida commuters face on a daily basis.

But Bullard, of Cutler Bay, has his own plans to reduce Miami-Dade commuters’ toll bills, and he argues his plan is more feasible than the one by moderate-sounding Republicans like Artiles, whose solution Bullard said is “to just get rid of the tolls.”

Full story here.

Photo credit: El Nuevo Herald file photo

Hispanic voters in play for new central Miami-Dade Senate district

Miami dade districts@ByKristenMClark

Both Democratic incumbent state Sen. Dwight Bullard and Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles are trying to gain the support of Hispanic voters for Miami-Dade's newly redrawn District 40 Senate seat.

With 75 percent of the district's voting age population Hispanic as of 2010, earning the favor of that voting bloc will be key to either Bullard or Artiles edging out a victory.

The Republican Party of Florida has helped Artiles -- the son of Cuban refugees -- in this effort by airing a Spanish-language ad for him recently on Miami TV. It features Artiles' mom touting how Artiles is a former Marine and is "a very good son, good husband and good father."

"Frank was raised with our Hispanic values and he shows it every day of his life," his mom says in Spanish.

Meanwhile, Bullard, who is black, said he has plans to tailor his campaign advertising to Hispanics, too. He told the Herald/Times that he'll be sending out his first mailers this week in English and in Spanish, focusing on his record of public service. And he also has plans for ads on Spanish-language radio.

The new District 40 in central Miami-Dade County is competitive ground for both candidates. It went for President Obama in 2012 with 54.8 percent of the vote.

Miami Herald political writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this report.

October 03, 2016

DSCC scraps another week of TV advertising for Patrick Murphy

Murphy primary nite 4 - richard graulich pbp


Following a pattern that began a month ago, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's outside support for Democrat Patrick Murphy continues to dwindle.

The committee has now cancelled about $1.9 million in planned TV ad spending in Florida for the week of Oct. 18-24, according to Politico. DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner independently confirmed the cuts to the Herald/Times by directing a reporter to the Politico story.

An unnamed DSCC official told the website that "we will continue to make targeted investments in Florida, which remains good ground for Democrats."

But Republicans view the repeated cuts as a sign of Democrats' weakened confidence in Murphy -- who has trailed Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio by various margins in every poll for months.

Last spring -- when Murphy was leading in the polls against a clustered field of Republicans before Rubio declared he would seek re-election -- the DSCC had reserved enough ad time to spend $10 million backing Murphy's bid in Florida. But this fall, the committee has slowly chipped away at that support, leaving it to the Senate Majority super PAC to back up Murphy's campaign while the DSCC redirects dollars to more winnable races.

Initially, the DSCC delayed its September ad buys until October, claiming it would shift the money to use closer to the election but there's been no evidence of that. And then the DSCC, cut half of its October spending, too.

The DSCC should have about $2 million left in TV ad reservations in Florida for the final two weeks of the campaign, based on the cuts so far.

The latest reductions were done in conjunction with DSCC "investments in new battlegrounds like North Carolina and Missouri" and about $1 million worth of cuts in Wisconsin and Illinois, "where Democrats are confident in victory," Politico reported.

Photo credit: AP / The Palm Beach Post