March 23, 2015

Patrick Murphy to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat

As expected, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, announced Monday morning that he will run for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 — Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now.”

Murphy’s prospects on the Democratic side recently improved when Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and former Gov. Charlie Crist announced that they would not seek the seat. But Murphy could face a challenge from U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, who is popular with progressives.

Turn to the Miami Herald for our complete story and turn to PolitiFact Florida which has fact-checked several attacks about Murphy including his positions on the federal Affordable Care Act.


March 22, 2015

Marco Rubio picks up support from Miami-Dade lobbyist


Jorge Luis Lopez, a prominent Miami-Dade lobbyist, is raising money for Marco Rubio's potential presidential campaign.

In an email to clients and others, Lopez is pledging to raise $100,000 for Rubio and is seeking deep-pocketed donors to sign up for the same amount. "[J]oin us in standing with Marco at this critical time for Jeanette and Marco as they are discerning their family's future," Lopez wrote in an email Sunday, referring to Rubio and his wife, Jeanette.  The email was from Lopez and his wife, Marile

"Marile and I have committed to show them our gratitude for their sacrifice in public service and friendship by supporting them and by standing with Marco moving forward," Lopez wrote. 

The email, shared with Naked Politics, said Lopez is seeking nine others who will "donate and raise a total of $100,000 for the Rubio Victory Committee.

Lopez's email captures the team-picking underway among  Miami's political establishment as Rubio battles Jeb Bush for hometown dollars and support in the 2016 presidential race. Neither has formally declared as a candidate. 

March 20, 2015

March 19, 2015

California congressman marks up Sen. Marco Rubio's net neutrality op-ed in red pen


U.S. Rep. Mark Takano apparently didn't like U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's op-ed in Politico this week explaining why he opposes the Obama administration's decision to regulate the internet -- an issue regulation supporters nicknamed "net neutrality."

So Takano, a California Democrat and former schoolteacher, marked up the Florida Republican's piece in red pen, gave him an "F" grade and posted it on Facebook. He's done this before, with a letter written by his GOP colleagues on immigration.

"I only break out the red pen on special occasions. So when I saw Marco Rubio’s recent op-ed on Net Neutrality, you know I couldn't resist. It is intentionally misleading, poorly researched, and littered with errors.

"Marco, please don't draft essays on your return flight from Iowa. See me in my office and I'll walk you through Net Neutrality."

So much for backroom conversations among members of Congress.

Takano post

March 18, 2015

Florida Senate approves March 15 primary date; Scott will sign into law

The Florida Senate on Wednesday signed off on a plan to make March 15 the date of the 2016 presidential primary.

The proposal (HB 7035) would put Florida in line Republican Party rules -- and enable the state to award all of its delegates to the winner of the GOP primary.

If Florida holds its primary election on March 1, as current law dictates, it would have to allocate its delegates proportionally. As a result, Florida would yield less influence in determining the Republican nominee for president.

"It makes Florida meaningful in the presidential primary elections," Republican Sen. Garrett Richter said of his proposal.

The bill won the unanimous support of the House last week, and passed 39-0 in the Senate.

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday afternoon that he planned to sign the bill "as soon as it gets to my desk."

Some Democrats on Wednesday alleged the proposal was only meant to help possible Republican candidates -- namely former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. (The Democratic Party awards delegates on a proportional basis regardless of the state's primary date.)

But Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said the bill would help the Democratic nominee, too.

"When you look back, when Hillary Clinton and then Sen. [Barack] Obama were running, they essentially boycotted the state of Florida," Gardiner said. "They came here and raised money, but they didn't participate in the election."


The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

AP: Marco Rubio says he'd 'absolutely' defy European allies on Iran

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says that if elected president, he would "absolutely" defy stalwart European allies if necessary in order to revoke an Iranian nuclear deal he might inherit from President Barack Obama.

Rubio, who is on the cusp of announcing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, says the next commander in chief "should not be bound" by Obama's potential agreement, even if European negotiating partners stand behind the deal.

"The United States, although it's less than ideal, could unilaterally re-impose more crushing and additional sanctions," Rubio said in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday. He said he would also "use the standing of the United States on the global stage to try to encourage other nations to do so."

The U.S. is negotiating the high-stakes nuclear deal with Iran alongside three European allies: Britain, France and Germany. Russia and China are also part of the U.S.-led negotiating team.

More here.

March 16, 2015

Marco Rubio, David Rivera put Tallahassee house on sale


The financial relationship that continues to tie potential Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to his old, embattled friend, former U.S. Rep. David Rivera -- a house they own together in Tallahassee -- could soon come to an end.

The two men have placed the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on sale for $125,000, as first reported by Politico.

They have attempted to sell the house before, to no avail. Their renter recently moved out, so they're trying again, now that neither former state lawmaker works in Tallahassee. (Rivera, however, has said he intends to run for the Florida House of Representatives again next year.)

No longer sharing a deed with Rivera could also help Rubio as he prepares to possibly run for president. The home, purchased in 2005 during the housing bubble, created a headache for Rubio five years ago, when a bank began foreclosure proceedings against him and Rivera after they failed to pay the mortgage for several months. The case was quickly settled, but it prompted Rubio to take a closer interest in the home payments, which had been mostly Rivera's responsibility.

Rivera has since been plagued by investigations into his personal and campaign finances.

March 15, 2015

Marco Rubio and the experience question

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- Last summer, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio quietly visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, and as he walked around, he probably felt the youthful optimism and maybe a shade of commonality.

The Florida Republican is on the brink of announcing a presidential campaign that would project the same transformational appeal as Kennedy, the youngest ever elected to the office at 43 and the first Catholic.

But for Rubio, who would be the first Hispanic and only 45, a more obvious and problematic comparison arises.

Like Barack Obama as a candidate, Rubio is a first-term senator who lacks sweeping accomplishments and is known as much as anything for his powerful rhetorical skill.

“For six years the right has told America we made a mistake hiring a one-term senator for president. So it is going to be awfully hard to say the GOP should nominate a one-term senator. That’s just the truth,” the widely-read conservative blogger Erick Erickson wrote recently.

Counters Rubio: “I’m a senator. I’m in my 40s, and I’m in my first term. I think that’s where the comparison ends.”

In an interview at his office on Capitol Hill last week, Rubio gave every sign he has decided to jump into the race, and an announcement could come next month.

More here.

March 13, 2015

Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson pass Senate recognition of late Miami activist


The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday honoring the late Georgia Ayers, a longtime Miami community activist who died Feb. 17. The tribute was sponsored by Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.

The resolution highlights "the lifelong commitment of Georgia Jones-Ayers to bettering the lives of the people of South Florida" and offers condolences to her family. Ayers founded a local food bank and a renown program that provided first-time criminal offenders with an alternative to jail time.

"Ms. Jones Ayers dedicated her life to helping at-risk youth in South Florida, a career that touched countless lives and has inspired many others to carry on her work," Rubio, a Republican, said in a statement Friday. "Georgia will be missed, but her memory and the impact of her work will live forever on."

When the two senators introduced the resolution Feb. 24, Nelson, a Democrat, also issued a statement praising Ayers' life work.

"With the passing of Georgia Jones Ayers, we have lost a fearless community activist," he said. "Thanks to her efforts, many troubled youth were given a second chance for a better life."

Scott Walker sizes up Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush

via @adamsmithtimes

MANCHESTER, N.H. --- We sat down this morning with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is making his first New Hampshire campaign swing as a likely presidential candidate this weekend along with Jeb Bush. Naturally we asked him how he can compete against Bush, who appears to be raising immense sums of money, and about Marco Rubio's suggestion that, as a senator and foreign relations and intelligence committee member, Rubio has a key advantage over current or previous governors on foreign policy.

Walker on foreign policy: "I think (Rubio's) great at foreign policy and other issues, but I just think there's a difference. In my lifetime, the most significant president in terms of foreign policy was a governor -- Ronald Reagan. The most important ingredient in foreign policy is leadership."

On Bush and his support from GOP establishment: "We had Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney. If it's just whoever's next up, that hasn't worked so well for the Republican party in the past. ... Jeb's a good man. You're not going to hear me speak ill will of Jeb. He's a friend of mine, He called me two days before (announcing) his PAC, I think highly of him. I just think voters are going to look at this and say, 'If we're running against Hillary Clinton, we'll need a name from the future -- not a name from the past -  to win.' "

On Bush's fundraising: "Yeah, he'll have by far the biggest report. There's a lot of people who are loyal to that family because of an ambassadorship or an appointment or something like that, so those people are going to show up big on his first report. What we're hoping going forward are not donors of obligation but donors of passion, people who are passionate about the reforms we bring to the table."

--ADAM SMITH, Tampa Bay Times