August 20, 2016

Pro-Marco Rubio super PAC raises $1.7M - almost half gifted from presidential super PAC

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via @learyreports

Marco Rubio’s super PAC, Florida First Project, raised $1.7 million in just over a month -- including $800,000 from the super PAC that supported Rubio’s presidential run, according to a new FEC filing.

Conservative Solutions PAC transferred $800,000 on July 13, adding to $100,000 it previously gave the new Rubio group, run by many of the same people.

The super PAC that supported Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who exited the race in deference to Rubio, kicked in $100,000.

Other big donors:

Larry Ellison of Oracle gave $100,000; John Rangos Sr., chairman of Chambers Development Co., gave $25,000; Richard Uihlein, CEO of Uline, gave $75,000; Frank VanderSloot gave $250,000, while VanderSloot's business, Melaleuca, gave $250,000.

Geo Group, the private prison operator that suffered a big blow this week, gave $50,000.

Photo credit: Jose A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

August 19, 2016

Patrick Murphy blasts Marco Rubio for 'terrible record on women’s health'

Capture@ByKristenMClark

A day after Marco Rubio unveiled a new TV ad that showcases how he helped a mother get cancer drugs for her daughter, Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is accusing the incumbent Republican U.S. senator of trying to "to paper over his terrible record on women’s health."

In Rubio's ad, Blanquita Trabold talks of how Rubio worked with the Food and Drug Administration to secure a yet-unapproved cancer drug that helped her daughter, who was battling breast cancer.

Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign says Rubio is using the ad to "distract Floridians from the facts" -- including Rubio's opposition to abortion and his support for repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood.

VOTERS GUIDE: "Florida, meet your U.S. Senate candidates"

"It will take a lot more than special interest money to distract from Marco Rubio’s disastrous record on basic rights for Florida women," Murphy campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement. "Instead of waging extremist crusades on a woman’s right to choose, Rubio should focus on showing up to the U.S. Senate and doing his job. Florida women deserve better than an absentee senator who has never fought for them."

In response, Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens said: "Leave it to Patrick Murphy to try to politicize cancer. Marco is proud to have helped this Florida mother receive the medication her daughter needed and will continue to fight for all of Florida's families."

Polls have Murphy leading the Democratic field in the upcoming Aug. 30 primary -- which is why he's already aggressively targeting Rubio for a likely general election match-up. Republican groups supporting Rubio are also on the offensive against Murphy.

Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, faces fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando and Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith in this month's primary. Manatee County home-builder Carlos Beruff is challenging Rubio.

Image credit: Rubio ad, "Daughter"

In tough editorial, Miami Herald recommends Marco Rubio and long-shot Pam Keith for Senate

From the Miami Herald editorial board:

Democratic and Republican leaders have displayed a damn-the-voters attitude in this year’s Florida Senate primary races that discredits both parties. They’re doing their best to rig the outcome before a single vote is cast.

In the Democratic race, the leadership has placed its bet on U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who narrowly beat firebrand GOP incumbent Allen West in 2012 in a district that leans slightly Republican. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden have campaigned with Mr. Murphy, with the president featured in a frequent Murphy TV commercial.

The party leadership sees Rep. Murphy as more palatable to voters than primary challenger Alan Grayson, a feisty, mince-no-words congressman from Orlando. But that should be up to the voters to decide. That’s why we have primaries instead of appointed nominees. Stacking the deck against Rep. Grayson corrupts the process.

On the Republican side, party leaders are scared to death of losing the seat held by Sen. Marco Rubio. They persuaded him to go back on this word after he’d said No to this race countless times. Three candidates dropped out of what had been a five-person race, including Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a proven vote-getter in Miami-Dade County, and newcomer Todd Wilcox, a conservative military veteran who made a good impression before exiting.

When a party leaves its own members with fewer choices, or abandons neutrality to favor one candidate over another, voters lose. It’s an insult to anyone who wants fairness in the electoral system. And it’s one more reason so many voters despise partisan politics.

More here.

Get to know Florida's U.S. Senate contenders in the August primary

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@ByKristenMClark

In Florida’s closely watched and highly competitive U.S. Senate race, four Republicans and five Democrats are competing in the Aug. 30 primaries for coveted spots on the general election ballot.

Incumbent Republican Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy are the most well-known names on each party’s ballot, but they face resilient challengers hoping to edge out a come-from-behind victory.

After a failed presidential run, Rubio wants to stay in office for another six-year term, while Democrats are pulling no punches to unseat him — pouring money and high-profile endorsements behind Murphy’s bid, in particular. Democrats hope a victory in Florida’s race will help them win back control of the U.S. Senate in 2017.

Click here to learn about the top contenders for Florida’s U.S. Senate contest.

MORE: Miami Herald's Voters Guide

Florida GOP forms 'Leadership Victory Committee' ahead of November election

via @learyreports

Allies of Marco Rubio will head up a Florida Leadership Victory Committee designed to get out the vote in November.

The state GOP announced the committee today, saying it will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Rubio is not mentioned in a release but he will raise money for the committee, which will in turn help his campaign and other down-ballot Republicans. The committee comes as Donald Trump is still organizing a ground game in Florida, creating some worry.

“It has always been our objective that Republicans up and down the ballot have success come November," RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said. "As a battleground state, the Republican Party of Florida is spending its time and resources supporting candidates that stand for conservative principles that will reverse the course of President Obama’s failed agenda.  For the Sunshine State, this election is about keeping Hillary Clinton out of the oval office by delivering Florida's 29 electoral votes to the Republican nominee and restoring prosperity to our country."

Continue reading "Florida GOP forms 'Leadership Victory Committee' ahead of November election" »

August 18, 2016

PolitiFact Florida: Marco Rubio says he wrote, passed veteran affairs bill

MARCO+RUBIO358+JAIvia @jpgillin

Marco Rubio is touting his support for veterans in his latest campaign ad ahead of the Aug. 30 primary in the Florida Senate race.

The ad opens with snippets from veterans in the Army, Marines and Navy who are backing Rubio for his efforts to help veterans.

After a few testimonials, the screen cuts to text that reads, "Marco Rubio wrote and passed bipartisan legislation allowing the VA to fire negligent workers."

We wondered if this was correct, so we looked into it.

We learned that this is fairly accurate, with the one caveat being that his legislation was included in a larger bill, and passed as law with other reforms to the VA system.

We rate the statement Mostly True. To read more, click here.

Photo credit: Jose A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

 

Report: With Rubio 'running strong,' Koch brothers pull back money

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@ByKristenMClark

A spokesman for the billionaire Koch brothers told The Hill on Wednesday that Charles and David Koch are pulling back on their financial assistance to Marco Rubio's re-election campaign.

The Hill reports the Koch brothers cancelled more than a half million dollars in Florida advertising intended to help the incumbent Republican U.S. senator for the week following the state's Aug. 30 primary.

Why?

Because "Rubio is running strong in Florida," Koch network spokesman James Davis told the newspaper.

Read the full story here.

This comes two weeks after the Rothenberg-Gonzales Political Report changed its assessment of Florida's Senate race from "pure toss-up" to leaning in Rubio's favor.

Polls have shown Rubio with a healthy lead in his primary against Carlos Beruff and with an edge over both of the leading Democratic candidates, U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, in general election match-ups.

Photo credit: José A. Iglesias / El Nuevo Herald

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