August 26, 2016

Rubio refrains from criticizing Trump on immigration

via @TMarreroTimes

If Sen. Marco Rubio is miffed that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has wavered a bit on his hardline immigration status, he's not letting it show.

Rubio, who is expected to win the GOP primary Tuesday in his bid to keep his seat, said Friday he'd "seen the headlines" about Trump's comments that seem to indicate he's softening a bit on immigration and tacking toward the policy proposals that Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush advocated during the presidential race. 

Compare that to Bush, Rubio's fellow failed presidential candidate, who called Trump's shift "abhorrent."

Rubio is expected to handily win the Republican primary against businessman Carlos Beruff. The Buzz asked Rubio how he’ll explain his support for Trump, however reluctant and lukewarm, to general election voters.

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Rubio appears ready to reverse TPP support

via @learyreports

Sen. Marco Rubio is expressing doubts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, suggesting he may be ready to reverse support, a stark example of eroding support for trade agreements in the Donald Trump era.

"Well, we still haven't made a final determination," Rubio told the Tampa Bay Times this week. "I've reviewed the trade commission's report. I've been meeting with advocates both for and against it. I'm a little disappointed in the returns on it — the economic returns are more modest than I had anticipated."

A reversal would be striking because Rubio has been an outspoken champion for the deal and free trade agreements in general. It comes as the White House is making a push for congressional approval in the lame duck session, a prospect that has triggered ferocious lobbying from both sides.

Rubio, who is running for re-election and still has presidential aspirations, said he has "a couple" of additional meetings with TPP proponents but added that he was also "concerned" about intellectual property issues.

"I believe we need a trade agreement, but it's got to be one that is good for America. We're only going to get one shot at it," Rubio said. "The returns on it are a bit more modest than I had anticipated. They're good for agriculture, but not very good for manufacturing."

"Proponents," he added, "I'm going to let them make their argument."

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August 25, 2016

Rubio raps FEMA over algae blooms

Senate 2016 Rubio_Ordo (1)-082516


Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the Obama administration for again declining to issue a federal disaster declaration in response to toxic algae in Florida's waterways.

"Even though the end to this disaster is not in sight, the President is telling our state we are on our own," the Miami Republican said Thursday in a statement.

Barack Obama did not appear to be involved in the decision. In a brief letter earlier Thursday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate rejected Gov. Rick Scott's appeal of his agency's earlier denial of extra money to help fight the algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee discharges intended to protect its aging dike.

"After a thorough review of all information contained in your initial request and appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that supplemental federal assistance under the Stafford Act is not appropriate for this event," Fugate wrote to Scott. "Therefore, I must inform you that your appeal for an emergency declaration is denied."

The thick algae blooms look like guacamole and smell bad. The algae has fouled Treasure Coast waterways fed by Lake Okeechobee.

"The Administration has chosen yet again to turn a blind eye to the livelihoods of Floridians who are affected by this toxic algae," Rubio said.

For more on Rubio's response:

Photo credit: Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press


Read more here:


Patrick Murphy on debating Marco Rubio: "Yes, absolutely"



Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is in general election mode. 

With five days to go until the Aug. 30 primary, Murphy continues to look ahead to November, where he will likely face Republican Marco Rubio

"We're about 75 days out, things are getting heated now," he said in Miami Beach Thursday. 

Murphy, who recently is polling within the margin of error against Rubio, did not hesitate when asked if he'll debate Rubio.

"Yes, absolutely," Murphy said. "I've always debated my opponents. I had a great debate with Congressman Allen West, Carl Domino my last opponent...I look forward to debating Senator Rubio because there is going to be a very sharp contrast." 

Murphy did not offer set terms for a potential debate, saying "Our teams will, I'm sure, be in touch with those terms but any forum where we can exchange ideas I look forward to." 

However, Murphy made similar comments earlier in the primary phase of this campaign but ultimately didn't follow through on his pledge.

Murphy generally avoided public forums where he would have shared the stage with his Democratic rivals, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and Miami attorney Pam Keith. This summer, Murphy dropped out of a planned debate against Grayson and he has ignored offers by Keith to debate her. Neither opponent was mentioned during his remarks on Thursday.

"We agreed to debate Alan Grayson...but the only thing that changed from when I agreed to debate Congressman Grayson and now is his former wife coming out with 20 years of reports of domestic violence," Murphy said at a campaign stop in South Miami last week.  "I cannot in good conscience continue to give him this platform."

The U.S. Rep. from Jupiter was in Miami Beach on Thursday to receive the endorsement of mayor Philip Levine, who repeatedly attacked Rubio for failing to address climate change. 

"I've never even seen him show up here and talk about sea level rise," Levine said. "We need pumps, we need to raise our roads."

Levine's dog briefly walked through the press conference, stopping to stare at the politicians before continuing down the hallway.

Mason-Dixon poll: Rubio 46%, Murphy 43%


Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy might cruise to primary victories in Florida's U.S. Senate race Tuesday, a new poll suggests, but they will be locked in a much tighter contest for the November general election.

The Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey shows Rubio, the incumbent senator, romping primary challenger Carlos Beruff by 61-22 percent. Murphy, a Jupiter congressman, leads Orlando Rep. Alan Grayson by a commanding 55-22 percent.

But in a general-election match-up, Rubio is ahead of Murphy by 46-43 percent -- a virtual tie, given the poll's error margin of 4 percentage points. Rubio leads among Republicans, independents, men, whites and Hispanics. Murphy is ahead among Democrats, women and African-Americans.

Mason-Dixon polled 625 registered voters by phone from Aug. 22-24. The error margin for the primary numbers -- obtained by oversampling 400 likely Democratic voters and 400 likely Republican voters -- is 5 percentage points.

PolitiFact: Patrick Murphy says Marco Rubio voted against Violence Against Women Act


Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is attacking Marco Rubio, his presumptive general election opponent in the race for Senate, for allegedly voting against domestic violence measures.

Murphy lambasted Rubio for having a "terrible record on women’s health" in anAug. 19 post on his website. Murphy’s post said Rubio opposed the right to choose an abortion, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

"He even voted against the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act," Murphy’s campaign wrote.

That sounded like a ready-made attack for election season, so we checked the voting record. Sure enough, Rubio voted against the legislation. But he had his reasons.

Keep reading Joshua Gillin's fact-check from PolitiFact Florida.

August 24, 2016

Poll: Trump, Clinton tied in presidential; Rubio, Murphy favorites in Senate primary



A new statewide poll released by Florida Atlantic University today shows the presidential contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump essentially a toss-up in Florida this month.

Among 1,200 registered likely voters in the November election, Trump got 43 percent support while Clinton got 41 percent. That's within the margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent.

In Florida's nationally watched U.S. Senate race, the poll has Republican incumbent Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy as the clear favorites in Tuesday's primary.

Rubio led the GOP field with 69 percent support, trailed by undecided voters at 15 percent and Manatee County home-builder Carlos Beruff at 8 percent. FAU said 327 registered Republican, likely primary voters were surveyed with results having a margin of error of plus or minus 5.4 percent.

Meanwhile in the Democratic race, the poll found Murphy with 54 percent support, with 22 percent still undecided. Alan Grayson got 7.6 percent in the poll, while Pam Keith received 7.4 percent. The university surveyed 364 registered Democratic, likely primary voters; the results had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percent.

The poll results for the Democratic primary reflect either a recent, drastic decline in voters' attitude toward Grayson or an anomaly. Most other polls for the U.S. Senate race have consistently shown Grayson with at least 17 percent support, including one done by Suffolk University a couple weeks prior.

FAU conducted its survey Aug. 19-22 using automated telephone polling. Find the full results here.

In a potential general election match-up between Rubio and Murphy, the poll found Rubio leading Murphy, 44 percent to 39 percent, with almost 12 percent undecided. About 5 percent preferred someone else.

Rubio would have a stronger chance against Grayson, according to the poll. In that match-up, Rubio got 45 percent support to Grayson's 34 percent, with 11 percent undecided. About 10 percent preferred an alternative.

Image credit: FAU poll of 1,200 likely general election voters in Florida, Aug. 19-22. Margin of error: +/- 2.7 percent

A Gables fundraiser for Rubio, five days before the primary


Five days ahead of Florida's U.S. Senate primary, incumbent Republican Marco Rubio will be in Coral Gables -- raising money for the next phase of the election.

A phalanx of top, longtime Rubio donors will host the senator at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Riviera Country Club, according to an invitation host Bernie Navarro published on Twitter. The minimum contribution is $2,700, with $10,800 required to co-host the event.

Rubio is so confident he'll defeat primary rival Carlos Beruff next Tuesday that he's hardly campaigning in public this week. The fundraiser is another sign that the senator is mostly focused on the Nov. 8 general election, when he's likely to face off against Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter.

Recent polls show Rubio leading Murphy, but the potential race has gotten tighter, as expected, and the Florida electorate during presidential years leans Democratic.

Goat-blood-drinking candidate considers himself friend of white supremacists



Augustus Sol Invictus, who once drank the blood of a freshly killed goat, is not your typical U.S. Senate candidate.

The fiery Libertarian once wrote a paper praising eugenics, is frequently blocked from Facebook for mocking his primary opponent and refuses to disclose his given name at birth.

Invictus, 33, an Orlando attorney who freely describes himself as “the most dangerous Libertarian in America,” came to South Florida on Tuesday evening to speak in front of 15 Miami-Dade party members at John Martin’s Irish Pub in Coral Gables. (He takes his name from the Latin for “Majestic Unconquered Sun,” a cult religion of the Roman Empire.)

The event was not your usual political fare.

Clad in a gray vest with slicked hair, Invictus calmly answered questions like: “Are you friends with white supremacists?” (Answer: Yes) “Would you disavow an endorsement from a white supremacist group?” (Possibly) “Would you accept campaign contributions from white supremacists? (From individuals, yes).

It took less than 10 seconds for the goat incident to come up, after forum moderator Pierre Alexandre Crevaux asked Invictus how the campaign was going.

“It’s brutal, soaked in blood,” Invictus said.

“Goat’s blood?” an audience member asked.

“Zing,” said Invictus, who drank goat’s blood in celebration at the end of a walk from Orlando to the Mojave Desert in 2013.

August 23, 2016

Private prison operator Geo Group boosts Rubio campaign coffers

Senate 2016 Rubio(2)
via @learyreports

The federal government’s decision to stop using private prisons puts a spotlight on one of Geo Group’s favorite politicians: Marco Rubio.

Few candidates in the country have gotten more help from the Boca Raton based company, including $80,400 in the last month alone.

Geo Group employees and political action committee contributed $30,400 to Rubio’s Senate campaign while the PAC gave $50,000 to the super PAC supporting Rubio, records show.

That’s on top of nearly $190,000 in support Rubio has received dating to his time as speaker of the Florda House, when Geo Group landed a major contract with the state, to his presidential run.

Rubio said Monday that he hadn’t read the Justice Department report citing cost and safety concerns at private prisons. Geo Group stock plunged but was on the rise Monday as company officials downplayed any significant harm to their bottom line.

“I’ll look at the report and what they found and if the findings are such that justify their decision, then it will be justified,” Rubio told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday while campaigning in Tallahassee. “At the end of the day, contractors are supposed to save us money, not cost us money.”

The campaign declined to answer a follow-up question about why Rubio has gotten so much attention from the country’s second-largest private prison operator.

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