June 23, 2016

History's on Marco Rubio's side in re-election


The folks at Smart Politics took a look at past politicians who have run for president, lost, and run for re-election again in the same year -- and they found history favors Marco Rubio in his bid for another U.S. Senate term.

Senator Rubio is not the first sitting member of the chamber to run for president, fail, and then seek reelection back to his seat all in same cycle.

In fact, those senators who have done so over the past half-century have an unblemished track record at keeping their seat.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that all seven sitting U.S. Senators who ran for reelection in the cycle of their failed presidential bid since 1972 were victorious – and each by double-digit margins.

More here.


June 22, 2016

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo back Marco Rubio


Marco Rubio picks up the backing of two fellow Miami Republicans who areprobably relieved at the prospect of having Rubio on the November ballot:

U.S. Senate poll: Rubio clear favorite in primary, Democrats largely undecided


New internal poll results released this afternoon by a Republican super PAC show that almost two-thirds of Democrats remain undecided in that party's primary for Florida's U.S. Senate race, but incumbent Marco Rubio is -- unexpectedly -- an instant front-runner in the dwindling GOP field.

The Senate Leadership Fund, which is affiliated with Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, commissioned polls in both primaries earlier this week -- before Rubio made his announcement Wednesday morning that he'd seek re-election.

The automated telephone surveys were conducted June 19-20 by Pop Polling.

Out of 530 registered Democrats surveyed, 62 percent said they were still undecided in the August primary contest, according to the polling memo. Among those who weren't, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, of Jupiter, led U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Orlando, 19 percent to 15 percent. Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith had 5 percent support.

The poll of the Democratic field had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

On the Republican side, only three candidates' names were included in the survey: Rubio, Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox. (Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, of Ponte Vedra Beach, were not included in the poll; although, they didn't drop out of the race until earlier today after Rubio announced his decision.)

Rubio earned 57 percent support among the 487 registered Republicans surveyed, according to the polling memo. Beruff got 5 percent support and Wilcox got 4 percent support, while 34 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The Republican survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Although the polls were from a partisan source, the strength of Rubio's candidacy reflected in the Senate Leadership Fund's results somewhat echo what the latest Quinnipiac University poll of the race showed when it was released early this morning.

Rubio fared well in both -- but the two polls can't be compared because the Q poll didn't survey each party primary. Rather, it looked at potential head-to-head general election match-ups in November. It signaled that Republicans' best shot to win the election would be with Rubio.

The Senate Leadership Fund's poll did not survey head-to-head general election possibilities, but the leader of the super PAC expressed confidence based on both the Q poll and its own internal polling.

"These numbers confirm that Marco Rubio is the Democrats’ worst nightmare in their dream of putting this Florida Senate seat in Hillary Clinton’s pocket," said Steven Law, former chief of staff to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and president of Senate Leadership Fund. "Not only is Rubio a clear favorite in the Republican primary, but the Democrats' primary is a dogfight between two scandal-tainted politicians, the resume-puffing Patrick Murphy and the unethical hedge fund manager Alan Grayson."

Both Grayson and Murphy have said they welcome Rubio's entry into the race; they're eager to take him on and confident in their prospects.

Florida's U.S. Senate race will be a grueling fight in the months ahead, because the seat could decide which party controls the Senate in 2017. The party primaries are Aug. 30.

Mario Diaz-Balart endorses Marco Rubio


Expect Marco Rubio to see the endorsements pour in from Florida Republicans who had backed Rubio's friend, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, for U.S. Senate before Rubio chose to seek re-election.

Here's one, from U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami:

I commend Senator Rubio on his decision to run for re-election. In these challenging times, Senator Rubio’s experience and deep knowledge on issues of foreign policy and national security are desperately needed. Carlos Lopez-Cantera would have made a great member of the U.S. Senate. His decision to step aside and recognize our state and country needed Senator Rubio’s expertise once again demonstrates that Carlos always puts his country first. I am confident he will continue serving our state with honor and integrity. I look forward to supporting Senator Rubio’s re-election bid this fall.

Jeb Bush would back Marco Rubio if asked

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush memorably criticized Marco Rubio on the presidential campaign trail of abandoning his Senate duties to jump for higher office. But Bush harbors no hard feelings toward Rubio.

Asked by email this afternoon if he'd back Rubio's Senate campaign, Bush replied quickly.

"If he asks, I would be happy to back him."


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio wins Club for Growth endorsement

via @learyreports

The Club for Growth endorsed Marco Rubio for Senate and pushed Rep. Ron DeSantis on another House run

“The Club for Growth PAC has been determined to keep this Florida Senate seat in the hands of economic conservatives since November 2014, when we first endorsed Senator Rubio’s re-election,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “When Marco announced his retirement from the Senate and launched his presidential bid, the Club’s PAC was quick to endorse Rep. Ron DeSantis, who has a 96% lifetime Club score. With today’s announcement by Senator Rubio and the anticipation that Rep. DeSantis will run again in FL-06, we are committed to the re-election of both of these pro-growth candidates. They will remain leaders in their respective chambers, and we believe Rep. DeSantis clearly has great potential for a run at the Senate in 2018.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

PolitiFact Florida: Full Flop for Marco Rubio after decision to run


"In November of next year, I will either be the president of the United States or a private citizen again, because I have a sense of urgency."

-- March Rubio, Oct. 20, 2015

"I think that the point that really drove me to change my mind is that as we enter this kind of new chapter in our history here is, there’s another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come."

-- Marco Rubio, June 22, 2016

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announced that he will seek re-election in Florida, ending weeks of speculation about his political future.

Rubio told reporters that he faced a sense of duty to remain in office whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Rubio’s decision is a complete reversal of what he said as he ran for president, which likely opens him up for criticism as he begins his late campaign.

We traced Rubio’s statements about running for re-election, with a focus on statements since he announced for president in April 2015. We are putting his statements on PolitiFact’s Flip-O-Meter which measures the extent to which a politician flips without making a judgment call about those changes. (You can read all of our fact-checks of Rubio on our Truth-O-Meter.)

While campaigning, Rubio repeatedly said he was running for president and not for re-election. After he dropped out in March, he said he would not seek re-election. But in recent weeks some of his comments left wiggle room.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

Democrats quick to pounce as Marco Rubio jumps back in Florida U.S. Senate race


With Marco Rubio announcing today that he'll seek re-election to his U.S. Senate seat after all, Democrats were quick to fire off statements this morning blasting the incumbent for going back on his word -- offering a glimpse at the critical attacks they're likely to lob at Rubio in the months ahead.

"Marco Rubio abandoned his constituents, and now he's treating them like a consolation prize," Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy said in a statement. "Unlike Marco Rubio, I love working hard every single day for the people of Florida. From missing the most votes of any Florida senator in nearly 50 years, to seeking to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, to repeatedly voting against closing the terrorist gun loophole, Rubio is proving he is only out for himself."

<<< MORE: "Rubio says yes to another Senate run after all" >>>

Minutes after the news of Rubio's decision broke, Murphy's campaign also sent out an urgent fundraising email -- capping off days of pitches for campaign cash that Murphy has made in the build up to Rubio's decision.

News of Rubio's decision came just a few hours after a new Quinnipiac University poll came out, showing that Rubio is Republicans' best hope by a wide margin of beating either Murphy or fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- which endorsed Murphy in the Democratic primary -- similarly blasted Rubio today for his attendance and voting record, his poor showing in Florida's presidential primary in March and his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"Now, he is cravenly using the deadliest mass shooting in American history as the springboard to go back on his word and further his political career," DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in a statement. "They said it couldn't be done, but Marco Rubio's actions, words and votes reveal one of the more self-serving Washington politicians who has always put his political career above the people he represents."

On Tuesday in Tallahassee, Grayson told reporters it would be "delightful" to take Rubio on, and in a Facebook post after Rubio's announcement this morning, he added: "Oh, yes, please. Bring it on."

Continue reading "Democrats quick to pounce as Marco Rubio jumps back in Florida U.S. Senate race" »

Marco Rubio is running for Senate again

@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1 @MaryEllenKlas

Ending weeks of political speculation, Marco Rubio announced Wednesday he has changed his mind and will run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, reversing his pledge to return to private life after his presidential campaign collapsed three months ago.

Rubio cited a sense of duty to try to remain in office under either President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton — two candidates he considers subpar.

“No matter who’s elected president, there’s reason to worry. If it’s Hillary Clinton, you know we’re going to have four more years of the same failed economic policies, four more years of the same failed foreign policy,” he told the Miami Herald. “The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me in many ways. It’s no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald."

National Republicans fearful of losing Senate control to Democrats mounted a campaign to keep Rubio on the ballot for Florida’s swing seat. He consented just two days before Friday’s state candidate-qualifying deadline.

“I think that the point that really drove me to change my mind is that as we enter this kind of new chapter in our history here is, there’s another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come,” Rubio said. “And that’s the power given to it in the Constitution to act as a check and balance on the excess of the president. It’s even more important given the fact that control of the Senate could very well come down to what happens in the Florida race.”

More here.

June 21, 2016

Alan Grayson: It would be 'delightful' to take on 'incompetent' Marco Rubio


Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson blasted his potential opponent and current Republican Sen. Marco Rubio as "incompetent" and someone who has "no flare" for the elected office he's in.

"I think it's a delightful situation," the Orlando congressman said Tuesday afternoon of the prospect of facing Rubio, who has yet to decide whether he'll change his mind this week and seek re-election. (The deadline to qualify is noon Friday.)

Grayson made his remarks during a press conference he held in Tallahassee, after filing his paperwork to qualify for the August primary ballot and, then, urging Republican legislative leaders at the Florida Capitol to take up gun control measures after the Orlando shooting last week.

Grayson -- one of five Democrats now seeking Rubio's seat -- slammed the Miami Republican for his lack of productivity in the Senate, saying Rubio has produced only one bill in his five years there. Grayson, who calls himself the "congressman with guts," touted his own record of passing bills and amendments through the U.S. House.

<<< Politifact: "Alan Grayson says he passed more bills and amendments than any other current member" >>>

"I think it's shocking that anybody who is that incompetent -- if I may use that term -- as a legislator would be considered for an extension on his contract, much less a promotion to the presidency," Grayson said. "I was genuinely puzzled why anybody thought he was a plausible candidate for the president because, frankly, he's so bad as a senator."

"Maybe if he showed up more often he could get more things done," Grayson said, referencing Rubio's poor attendance record for which he's been relentlessly criticized. "I don't know why he wants to continue in the job. He doesn't seem to show any interest for it, and for God's sakes, certainly no flare. Maybe he should let somebody else do it for a while who has some ability to get good things done for the people of Florida."

"There's a reason why he's called 'No Show Rubio,' and I'm called the 'most effective member of Congress,' " Grayson added, citing praise he quotes often from Slate magazine in an article that was published three years ago.

Spokespeople for Rubio did not immediately return an email seeking comment this evening.

Grayson is running against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, Miami labor attorney Pam Keith, Jacksonville attorney Reginald Luster and Orlando businessman "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.