June 24, 2016

Lopez-Cantera bids Senate campaign farewell with call to supporters

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera said good-bye to his U.S. Senate campaign Friday with a call to supporters in which he thanked them and promised to be "fully behind" Marco Rubio's re-election bid.

"I'm going to do what I can to help Marco," Lopez-Cantera told the Miami Herald after the call.

That's in contrast to Gov. Rick Scott, who is sitting out the Republican primary between Rubio and Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff.

Lopez-Cantera, who stepped aside after urging Rubio to run, got in a jab at Beruff, noting he didn't show up to the last grassroots event Lopez-Cantera attended recently in Venice, near Sarasota.

This will be the first election since 2006 in which Lopez-Cantera, a former state representative and Miami-Dade County property appraiser, isn't on a ballot.

He said he might attend Rubio's first fundraiser, Sunday in Miami.

Marco Rubio will kick off Senate fundraising Sunday in Miami

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@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio's donors have gotten back together to collect checks for the Florida Republican again, now that Rubio is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

They will launch their fundraising campaign Sunday just outside South Miami, a little more than three months after Rubio ended his bid for the presidency.

The reception is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the home of Claudia and Bernie Navarro, close friends of Rubio's who hosted donors several times during the presidential campaign.

At first, Rubio backers had hoped to turn a Friday night event for Carlos Lopez-Cantera's Senate campaign into a Rubio cocktail instead. But not all Lopez-Cantera donors -- such as Jeb Bush loyalist Jorge Arrizurieta -- are supporting Rubio. And a Rubio event would have required separate notice from a Lopez-Cantera one.

So Lopez-Cantera scrapped his reception -- and Rubio planned one of his own.

Suggested contributions are $10,800 per couple for the highest level of support. A "general attendee" is asked to give $2,700.

A new, pro-Rubio super PAC is churning out attacks against likely Democratic nominee and Jupiter U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. Rubio has one Republican foe remaining, Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff.

An earlier version of this post and its headline incorrectly stated the city in which the fundraiser will be located.

With Rubio running, Lopez-Cantera formally calls off ritzy fundraiser

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio was supposed to headline a fundraiser Friday night for Carlos Lopez-Cantera's U.S. Senate campaign.

When Rubio announced Wednesday he would run for re-election instead, Lopez-Cantera dropped out of the race. But it was unclear what would happen to the planned gathering of deep Republican pockets at Coral Gables' luxe Biltmore Hotel.

Friday morning, Lopez-Cantera's campaign made official that the reception was off. There was no way to turn the gathering into a fundraiser for Rubio instead, the Miami Herald learned.

"We sincerely thank all of the hosts who worked to make the event a success!" Lopez-Cantera finance director told backers ni an email. "Your continued support throughout the campaign has been incredible and on behalf of Carlos and the entire campaign team we cannot thank you enough."

Lopez-Cantera has scheduled a 5 p.m. conference call to thank supporters.

Marco Rubio broke promise, says super PAC's new Spanish-language Facebook ad

via @learyreports

American Bridge 21st Century will launch a Facebook ad against Marco Rubio in key Hispanic areas, casting the senator as untrustworthy and not just because he broke a promise not to seek re-election.

The Spanish-language ad will run over the weekend in Miami, Tampa and Orlando, the liberal super PAC said.

 

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

June 23, 2016

Marco Rubio's got help from a new super PAC, which is already hitting Patrick Murphy

@PatriciaMazzei

Friends of Marco Rubio got to work quickly creating a new super PAC to back the Florida Republican's Senate re-election campaign. The first order of business: slamming Democrat Patrick Murphy's résumé inflation.

Florida First Project was born Wednesday, the same day Rubio announced his decision to seek another six-year term. It's run by many of the same people who managed Conservative Solutions, the super PAC that assisted Rubio's presidential campaign. Others involved in the committee worked for the campaign itself.

By Thursday, Florida First had released its first web ad, a forceful hit against Murphy, the likely Democratic nominee who had the bad luck of learning of Rubio's re-election bid on the same day that Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 published a scathing investigation into Murphy's professional background. Murphy's campaign has disputed some of the report's findings.

"Patrick Murphy lied," the 30-second spot says. "He isn't who he says he is."

Heading Florida First Project will be Warren Tompkins, also directed Conservative Solutions. Two other Conservative Solutions veterans, strategist Mark Harris and spokesman Jeff Sadosky, will serve the same roles as well. The PAC will also be advised by longtime Rubio strategist Heath Thompson and pollster Whit Ayres. Dorinda Moss, the finance chief of Rubio's presidential campaign, will be the PAC's finance director.

 

 

Jeb endorses Marco, and Marco says thanks

@PatriciaMazzei

It's all a Twitter-official love-fest now:

Rubio votes against gun-control compromise, Nelson votes in favor

via @learyreports

Sen. Marco Rubio helped kill a compromise gun control measure today. Sen. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment by Sen. Susan Collins, which would restrict people on the government no-fly list from buying guns.

Rubio, now a candidate for Senate, has drawn criticism from the left for opposing a number of gun measures that followed the Orlando tragedy. His office said he reviewed Collins' "no fly, no buy" plan but he was not expected to back it with the NRA coming out in opposition.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Rubio, Nelson split on House Zika funding bill

@PatriciaMazzei

Lost in the shuffle of Wednesday night's dramatic sit-in by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives was passage of legislation setting aside $1.1 billion to prevent the Zika virus.

That's less than the $1.9 billion President Barack Obama had requested, an amount that received bipartisan support in Florida, the state with the highest number of confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness.

The bill now heads to the Senate, and Florida's two senators had quite different reactions to the legislative package.

"The House Zika bill is a disaster," Democrat Bill Nelson said in a statement. "Not only does it take $500 million in health care funding away from Puerto Rico, it limits access to birth control services needed to help curb the spread of the virus and prevent terrible birth defects. This is not a serious solution."

Republican Marco Rubio said some money was better than nothing.

"At this point, I support getting something on Zika done," he said in a statement. "Congress has shamefully wasted too much time already, and with summer here, the price of inaction will be devastating. Although this does not fully fund the president's request, it is at least a significant improvement from what the House passed earlier this year."

All three Miami Republicans in the House voted for the legislation, which was sponsored by one of the local congressmen, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, as part of a broader budget bill.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo said the Zika funding is insufficient but a starting point.

"While this bipartisan compromise fell short, it is a step in the right direction," he said in a statement. "Importantly, it avoids a funding cliff at the end of the summer which was a major flaw in the original House-passed Zika bill I opposed. I will continue to call for as much funding as possible to ensure the residents of South Florida, and the nation, are no longer threatened by the Zika virus."

Jeb Bush backs Marco Rubio for Senate. But Bush's ex-Miami-Dade campaign chief doesn't

@PatriciaMazzei

Hard feelings toward Marco Rubio remain from one of Jeb Bush's highest profile Miami supporters.

Jorge Arrizurieta, who chaired Bush's presidential campaign in Miami-Dade County, told a local radio station Thursday he won't vote for Rubio's re-election to the Senate -- even though Bush will.

"I don't think I'm the only one," Arrizurieta told hosts Roberto Rodríguez Tejera and Juan Camilo Gómez on the Spanish-language Actualidad Radio. "I feel incredibly disappointed."

Arrizurieta characterized Rubio as disloyal and ungrateful to Bush, his one-time political mentor, and said "no one will be able to convince me" that Bush's odds at winning the White House wouldn't have been greatly improved without Rubio in the presidential race. He said Bush's endorsements speaks to the former Florida governor's integrity.

Nevertheless, Arrizurieta opined Rubio has the best shot as winning the seat, given that he's the incumbent. He also said he doesn't plan on backing anyone else in the Senate contest, though he said Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff has been in touch.

A dejected-sounding Arrizurieta said he was "very saddened" by the Republican Party under presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"The new political order that no one understands," he said.

Rubio and fellow Miami Republicans react to SCOTUS immigration decision

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio lauded the Supreme Court on Thursday on its decision to keep blocking a plan by President Barack Obama to let scores of people in the country illegally remain in the U.S.

The court, still missing a ninth member after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, deadlocked 4-4 on the issue. That left standing an earlier appeals court decision prohibiting the Obama administration from implementing its Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

"This is the right decision," Rubio said in a statement. "No matter what solutions one may prefer to fix our broken immigration system, those policies must be pursued and passed into law by Congress."

But he and the other South Florida politicians -- all of whom have supported immigration reform -- also said Congress must also act.

"While the Supreme Court's decision makes clear that President Obama has acted lawlessly, it does not leave Congress off the hook either," Rubio said.

Miami's three Republican House members -- Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo -- were even more critical of lawmakers (many of them in the GOP) who have failed to address immigration issues.

"The Supreme Court has spoken, but today's decision does not resolve the issue," they said in a joint statement. "The American people expect Congress to work together to secure our borders, adhere to the rule of law, offer a humane solution to those living in the shadows, modernize our visa system, and bolster the economy. We are committed to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all."

Joining the Miamians in their position were Republican Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Dan Newhouse of Washington, David Valadao of California, Jeff Denham of California, and Bob Dold of Illinois.