September 20, 2016

Rubio to join Pence at GOP dinner in Tampa

@PatriciaMazzei

The Republican Party of Florida announced Tuesday that Marco Rubio will speak at a dinner next month in Tampa. Rubio is the second big name on the program, after vice presidential nominee Mike Pence.

RPOF's "victory dinner" will take place Oct. 15.

Rubio, who is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate, has not campaigned with Pence or Donald Trump.

Patrick Murphy attacks Marco Rubio in announcing Planned Parenthood's support

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@ByKristenMClark

Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has the official support of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and he's using that backing to renew attacks on Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio over his stance on abortion and the Zika virus.

The inclusion of Zika funding for Planned Parenthood's affiliates in Puerto Rico has been a partisan sticking point that's prevented Congress from passing a $1.9 billion funding package that President Obama requested months ago.

It's not unexpected that Planned Parenthood's political arm chose to endorse Murphy over Rubio in Florida's competitive U.S. Senate race. Rubio is pro-life, while Murphy advocates for women's choice on abortion.

Murphy said he was "incredibly humbled" by the endorsement, announced Tuesday.

"This is an organization that provides vital health care to millions of women across this country," Murphy said in a campaign statement. "While Marco Rubio opposes a woman’s right to choose, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and has exploited the Zika virus to attack women’s health, I will be a senator who stands with Planned Parenthood to fight for Florida families."

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards also criticized Rubio while praising Murphy.

"Murphy has been a fighter for Florida women, pushing for smart policies to ensure access to affordable birth control and safe, legal abortion," Richards said in a statement provided by Murphy's campaign. "Patrick sees the importance of access to reproductive health providers, like Planned Parenthood, to keep Florida women healthy. Rubio’s multiple attacks aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, cutting health care access in Florida, forcing women to pay more for birth control and eliminating access to safe, legal abortion, would all have devastating effects on Florida women and families."

In response to the criticism from Murphy and Planned Parenthood officials, Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said: "Patrick Murphy's campaign is floundering, so he's leaning on liberal interest groups to prop him up."

"Voters have a clear choice between re-electing a senator with a strong record of fighting for them, or Patrick Murphy, who has proven untrustworthy and ineffective," Perez-Cubas added.

Planned Parenthood's is one of several endorsements Murphy has announced since the Aug. 30 primary election. He's continuing a strategy he employed during the primary, in which he touted endorsements from a wide array of Democratic establishment supporters to propel his campaign against his party competitors. It's unclear whether that's having a similar impact during the general election contest against Rubio.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / AP/ The Palm Beach Post

*This post has been updated with comment from Rubio's campaign.

September 19, 2016

In Tampa, Patrick Murphy talks Marco Rubio, immigration reform

Via @adawsonwrites

He didn't get a chance to eat the Cuban sandwich and plantain chips laid at his table Monday at Arco Iris Restaurant in West Tampa, but U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy left the small cafe with support from a host of political activists.

Much of Murphy's brief stop with state Rep. Janet Cruz, who will be the House Democratic leader after the Nov. 8 election, was spent blasting his opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, on everything from Zika funding to immigration and health care reform laws.

"Guess what, it takes an Irishman to speak on behalf of the Latinos on immigration. It takes an Irishman to protect the rights of families and say, 'I'll work on a path to citizenship,' " Cruz said of Murphy as he settled in at a long table of supporters. "It's a Latino that we have in the Senate that is speaking out against our own people."

Immigration reform is key to strengthening the economy, said Murphy, a South Florida congressman. Borders should be secured and laws enforced, he said, but with a clear pathway to citizenship so kids aren't "graduating from school and getting kicked out the next day."

More here.

AFL-CIO drops new batch of anti-Rubio mailers

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@PatriciaMazzei

The AFL-CIO labor union said Monday it's sent 60,000 voters a new batch of mailers against the reelection of Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

The pieces highlight Rubio's support for the Trans Pacific Partnership and for other positions the union considers anti-labor.

The union backs Rubio's Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter.

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PolitiFact: Ad attacking Patrick Murphy misleads about Obamacare

 

Florida’s closely watched U.S. Senate race pits incumbent Republican Marco Rubio against Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy. Recently, Rubio got some help from the free-market group Americans for Prosperity, which created an ad attacking Murphy as "Pay-More Patrick."

One of the claims in the ad was an attack on Murphy’s support for the Affordable Care Act, a law sometimes called Obamacare after the president who signed it into law.

In the ad, a narrator says, "Patrick Murphy says he wants to serve in the U.S. Senate, but who does he really want to serve? As a member of Congress, ‘Pay-More’ Patrick has voted for big payouts to special interests. Our health care premiums are going up, and 300,000 Floridians have lost their health insurance. And yet, ‘Pay-More’ Patrick voted not once, not twice, but nine times for Obamacare."

Here, we’ll check the assertion that "300,000 Floridians have lost their health insurance" as a result of Obamacare.

Keep reading Louis Jacobson's fact-check from PolitiFact Florida and read our fact-check of a similar claim by Rubio in 2013. 

NYT/Siena poll: Clinton 41%, Trump 40% in Florida

@PatriciaMazzei

The Florida presidential race remains too close to call 50 days before the election, according to a new Siena College poll for the New York Times Upshot.

Hillary Clinton is statistically tied with Donald Trump 41-40 percent in a head-to-head match-up, according to the poll. They're actually tied 43-43 percent in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who drew 9 percent and 2 percent support, respectively.

The poll found Trump's extraordinary support among white voters to be keeping him afloat in the nation's largest swing state. They prefer Trump to Clinton by 51-30 percent.

In the U.S. Senate race, the poll found Marco Rubio ahead of Patrick Murphy by 48-42 percent.

Because Siena polled likely voters based on data from Florida's voter file, the poll may be undercounting young voters who have yet to register and tend to lean Democratic. The poll's sample size of Hispanics might also be too small to accurately measure the state's Latino electorate; to do so, Florida pollsters often prefer to poll Hispanics only, or to oversample the demographic in their surveys.

September 17, 2016

Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio agree: Don't pardon Edward Snowden

Snowden-ap-theguardian

@ByKristenMClark

Despite their myriad differences, U.S. Senate candidates Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy are on the same page when it comes to Edward Snowden's fate.

Both the Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger believe President Barack Obama should not pardon Snowden, the man who a few years ago leaked details of classified national security surveillance programs.

Talk of a potential pardon for Snowden made headlines this week, as a new movie about Snowden's life debuted in theaters amid a push by major human rights groups for Obama to pardon him for his actions.

The House Intelligence Committee -- of which Murphy is a member -- weighed in on the matter, too, with the completion of its own two-year inquiry and a unanimous letter to Obama on Thursday emphatically urging against a Snowden pardon.

"Given the findings by the House Intelligence Committee on which he serves, Congressman Murphy joined the entire bipartisan committee in strongly opposing a pardon for Snowden," Murphy's congressional spokeswoman Erin Moffet said in a statement to the Herald/Times.

"The congressman believes Edward Snowden should be held accountable for his actions," Moffet said. "The theft and disclosure of classified American military, defense, and intelligence documents, which may now be available to Russia, China, and other adversaries, must not be taken lightly.  Snowden not only violated privacy interests, but also harmed our national security."

Asked by the Herald/Times for Rubio's opinion on a Snowden pardon, Rubio's campaign spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said the senator also doesn't support it.

"Marco has been saying for years that Edward Snowden is a traitor, and he should face the full consequences for his dangerous betrayal of the U.S.," Perez-Cubas said.

Continue reading "Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio agree: Don't pardon Edward Snowden" »

September 16, 2016

Report: DSCC makes further cuts to Florida ad buy

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@ByKristenMClark

Senate Democrats' chief campaign committee is withdrawing even more advertising money from Florida, cutting its once-$10 million ad reservation down to $6 million, Politico reported this afternoon.

It's not good news for Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy -- who needs the boost of outside spending to improve his low statewide name recognition and to sway voters in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent U.S Sen. Marco Rubio.

MORE: "$40 million worth of ads are coming in Murphy-Rubio battle"

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had originally been scheduled to debut its ads in Florida on Sept. 20, but over the past two weeks, the committee cut at least $1.5 million in planned ads -- delaying most of its airtime until October.

But Politico reports the DSCC is further "ceding ground" in expensive states like Florida and Ohio in favor of races in North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana.

On top of the cancellations and reductions in ad time for September, the DSCC on Friday was also cutting time for the week of Oct. 4, according to various reports. It appears that cancellation amounted to about $2.5 million.

When asked for comment, DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner referred the Herald/Times to the Politico story. She did not respond to earlier emails Thursday and Friday asking for an updated figure on the committee's planned ad buy.

Amid the DSCC's reductions, Democratic officials have argued that a $10.5 million planned ad buy that began this week by the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, would be more than enough to fight on Murphy's behalf.

But Republicans will be out in force for Rubio, too. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already spent $2 million of a $4.8 million ad buy planned before Oct. 2. And the Senate Leadership Fund, a conservative super PAC, plans to start a $10.8 million ad buy on Tuesday.

Photo credit: AP

Outside groups plan $40M+ in TV ads for Florida U.S. Senate race

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@ByKristenMClark

At least a dozen super PACs and independent political groups have pledged at least $40 million so far in reserved TV time in Florida’s U.S. Senate race — hoping to use a barrage of commercials before Election Day to steer voters to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio or Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.

The money is almost split evenly between Republican and Democratic backers, with about $20 million on each side, the Herald/Times found.

And that doesn’t even count the millions the candidates’ own campaigns might pour into TV advertising. Both launched their first ads of the general election this month, but neither campaign would discuss with the Herald/Times how much they planned to spend through November.

Meanwhile, at least $12 million has already been spent by roughly two dozen groups to buoy Murphy’s and Rubio’s campaigns with outside support, including TV ads, Federal Election Commission records compiled by ProPublica show.

The tens of millions of dollars these political influencers are investing — from the conservative Koch brothers to liberal labor unions — is another mark of how important Florida’s U.S. Senate race is on the national stage.

More here.

Image credits: Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate campaign and Senate Majority PAC/AFSCME People / YouTube

Murphy, Rubio debate gun reform 3 months after Orlando shooting

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@ByKristenMClark

Three months after the Orlando shooting massacre, how best to reform America’s gun laws and better thwart suspected terrorists’ efforts to buy firearms has become an issue of sharp contrast between the two candidates running in Florida’s highly competitive and nationally watched U.S. Senate race.

Gun control reform became a prominent topic this week between Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, as each candidate seeks to better define himself — and his opponent — for Florida voters.

Earlier this week, Murphy used an endorsement he got from the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, an LGBT gun-reform group founded after the Orlando shooting, as an opportunity to strike a contrast with Rubio’s defense of gun rights.

Then on Thursday, their differences boiled over after Rubio introduced his own Orlando-inspired gun reform proposal in the Senate.

More here.

Photo credit: AP / The Palm Beach Post