October 03, 2016

DSCC scraps another week of TV advertising for Patrick Murphy

Murphy primary nite 4 - richard graulich pbp


Following a pattern that began a month ago, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's outside support for Democrat Patrick Murphy continues to dwindle.

The committee has now cancelled about $1.9 million in planned TV ad spending in Florida for the week of Oct. 18-24, according to Politico. DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner independently confirmed the cuts to the Herald/Times by directing a reporter to the Politico story.

An unnamed DSCC official told the website that "we will continue to make targeted investments in Florida, which remains good ground for Democrats."

But Republicans view the repeated cuts as a sign of Democrats' weakened confidence in Murphy -- who has trailed Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio by various margins in every poll for months.

Last spring -- when Murphy was leading in the polls against a clustered field of Republicans before Rubio declared he would seek re-election -- the DSCC had reserved enough ad time to spend $10 million backing Murphy's bid in Florida. But this fall, the committee has slowly chipped away at that support, leaving it to the Senate Majority super PAC to back up Murphy's campaign while the DSCC redirects dollars to more winnable races.

Initially, the DSCC delayed its September ad buys until October, claiming it would shift the money to use closer to the election but there's been no evidence of that. And then the DSCC, cut half of its October spending, too.

The DSCC should have about $2 million left in TV ad reservations in Florida for the final two weeks of the campaign, based on the cuts so far.

The latest reductions were done in conjunction with DSCC "investments in new battlegrounds like North Carolina and Missouri" and about $1 million worth of cuts in Wisconsin and Illinois, "where Democrats are confident in victory," Politico reported.

Photo credit: AP / The Palm Beach Post

Patrick Murphy says he raised $3.3M in third quarter



Patrick Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign says the Jupiter Democratic congressman took in $3.3 million in campaign cash during the last three months -- including the $1 million Murphy reported raising during the pre-primary period in July and early August.

The campaign did not immediately provide details about how much cash it had on hand as of Sept. 30, whether the money raised last quarter includes any loans, or whether the campaign is reporting any debt heading into the home stretch of the election cycle.

Federal candidates have until Oct. 15 to file their quarterly reports. It's their last fundraising report before the Nov. 8 election.

The third quarter covers fundraising from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Murphy already reported taking in about $1 million between July 1 and Aug. 10 -- the pre-primary reporting period ahead of the Aug. 30 Democratic election. That report showed Murphy had about $4 million in cash on hand with no debt, as of Aug. 10.

Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio has not released his third-quarter fundraising figures yet.

Murphy's fundraising haul does not include any money the pro-Murphy independent super PAC, "Floridians for a Strong Middle Class," might have also raised to support him. (Super PACs are forbidden from coordinating with candidates' campaigns and can raise unlimited funds.)

Photo credit: Walter Michot / Miami Herald

Winner of Florida's U.S. Senate race could influence progress of Everglades work


@MaryEllenKlas & @ByKristenMClark

For all their differences on national issues, how Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy handle one uniquely Florida issue — pollution from Lake Okeechobee — could have a profound impact on the future of the state.

The two U.S. Senate candidates both say they’re committed to Everglades restoration — and boast of accomplishments in Congress to prove that dedication — but they differ on how the problem should be solved.

The issue has been teed up as a pivotal one in the next two years as incoming Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, announced in August that buying land south of the lake in the heart of the Everglades Agricultural Area is essential to solving what he called the state’s “environmental emergency.”

Negron said it will be his top priority to get state and federal approval for $2.4 billion to buy the land so it can store and clean the lake water and prevent harmful, phosphorus-laden discharges.

Whoever is elected Florida’s junior senator in November could greatly influence the congressional debate when Negron makes that pitch.

More here.

Photo credit: Walter Michot / Miami Herald file photo

September 30, 2016

TV Ad: It's bad when Marco skips work, worse when he doesn't

via @adamsmithtimes

The Senate Majority PAC is out with a new TV ad attacking Marco Rubio's absenteeism and record of education funding and Social Security. The transcript:

Announcer: Marco Rubio has the worst attendance record of any Florida senator in 50 years. But it’s even worse when he shows up.

Announcer: He’s voted for a plan that would cut Social Security – and has said Social Security is “bankrupting our country” and has “weakened us as a people.” 

Announcer: He wants to eliminate the Department of Education – and has voted for billions in education cuts. 

Announcer: Marco Rubio. It’s bad when he misses work. It’s worse when he shows up.

Rubio at forefront of GOP attack on new Iran deal details




Republicans led by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio have new ammunition in their months-long assault on the U.S. accord to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Rubio cited a Wall Street Journal article reporting that the biggest enticement for Iran to free four American hostages in January wasn't the widely reported release of $1.7 billion frozen by Washington since the 1979-80 hostage crisis.

Instead, according to the Journal, the U.S. government lifted sanctions that had blocked Iran from procuring ballistic missiles eight years earlier than allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal Tehran and Washington sealed.

"President Obama promised (that) the United States would maintain and enforce sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile activities," Rubio said Friday. "Today we learned he secretly agreed -- eight years early -- to lift sanctions on an Iranian bank the U.S. Treasury Department described as the financial linchpin of Iran's missile-procurement network."

Ryan also criticized the recently revealed provision freeing Iran to start buying ballistic missiles.

"It now appears that on the same day American hostages were freed from Iran, the administration not only agreed to the $1.7 billion cash ransom payment, but violated a key term of the nuclear deal by prematurely lifting ballistic missile sanctions."

Pressed by reporters at a briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said the United States had "conducted a very thorough review" before deciding to lift the sanctions on the banks.

Asked directly whether the review had determined that the banks were no longer tied to Iran's missile procurement, Toner responded: "Yes, I mean that's exactly right. That they were no longer carrying out actions that we believed were linked to, or linked them to, the ballistic-missile program."

He added that "we continue to have concerns about Iran's ballistic-missile program."






As Hillary Clinton speaks in his district today, Patrick Murphy won't be there

Murphy primary nite 5 - richard graulich pbp


Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy was invited to join Hillary Clinton during her latest trip to Florida today but "unfortunately won't be able to attend" because of a scheduling conflict, his spokesman Joshua Karp told the Herald/Times.

The Democratic presidential nominee will give a speech in Fort Pierce this morning -- in Murphy's Treasure Coast congressional district -- and then she's campaigning in Coral Springs.

Karp said Murphy's campaign had already scheduled a fundraiser for Murphy to attend in New York, before Clinton's events were announced. Today marks the end of third-quarter fundraising.

For more than a year, Murphy's U.S. Senate race (now against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio) has been touted by national Democrats as a must-win to help them take back the Senate.

But while other top Democrats -- including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden -- are openly and repeatedly singing Murphy's praises, Clinton has been quiet. She hasn't mentioned him or his contest at public events during her numerous recent trips to campaign in the Sunshine State.

A couple hours after the Herald/Times pointed that out earlier this month, Clinton released a statement formally endorsing Murphy.

In subsequent trips to Florida, Clinton still hasn't brought up Florida's U.S. Senate race -- even as Democrats are trying to rally voters to the polls and Murphy continues to suffer from low name-recognition statewide. A Democratic-led Senate would be vital to a Clinton administration getting its agenda passed.

Her running mate Tim Kaine didn't mention either Murphy or the Senate race while in Miami on Sunday, but Kaine did name-drop Murphy briefly in Lakeland a day later, calling him a "great candidate."

That was the first recognition the Clinton-Kaine operation has given Murphy during one of its events.

In other states, Clinton often gives shout-outs to local elected officials and congressional and Senate candidates at her rallies, particularly when they're in attendance with her. For instance, she praised Democratic candidates in similarly competitive U.S. Senate races in New Hampshire and North Carolina this week, with those candidates in the audience.

Murphy and Clinton have not been at the same event together for a year -- since when he attended a Clinton campaign event at Broward College last October.

On the Republican side, Rubio has also not appeared in person with presidential nominee Donald Trump. But Trump has acknowledged Rubio, as well as the importance of Florida's race; Trump was among those who urged Rubio to seek re-election.

Meanwhile, the Trump-Rubio dynamic is the polar opposite of the Clinton-Murphy one. Murphy has been all-in for Clinton since she announced her presidential bid, but Rubio has had the challenge of now supporting Trump, after a hostile, insult-riddled presidential competition between the two.

After today's New York fundraiser, Murphy will fly back to Florida. He has events planned Saturday in West Palm Beach and Venice.

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

*This post has been updated to reflect Tim Kaine's mention of Murphy in Lakeland.

September 29, 2016

Murphy gets another gun-reform endorsement as NRA strikes

Murphy primary nite 1 - richard graulich pbp


As the National Rifle Association sets him in its sights, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy picked up another endorsement from a gun-reform group that could lend him some outside campaign and fundraising support.

The Fund to End Gun Violence announced Thursday it was adding Murphy, along with two congressional contenders in California and New York, to its list of endorsed candidates. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy -- a Connecticut Democrat with no relation to Patrick Murphy -- founded the group to help elect candidates committed to combating gun violence.

"We all remember a time not that long ago when Democrats avoided talking about guns -- especially as candidates in competitive campaigns. But this year has marked a sea change in the fight to reduce gun violence. With 90 percent of voters behind us, Democrats are finally going on offense,” Chris Murphy said in a statement.

He said he was "proud" to support Murphy because he and other candidates endorsed by the Fund have "made ending gun violence cornerstones of their campaigns. By electing more people like them, Congress can finally listen to the will of the people, not the gun lobby."

Meanwhile, the NRA launched a TV and digital ad against Patrick Murphy in Florida this week. The $900,000 ad buy was reflected in an independent expenditure report the NRA's political arm filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The ad -- running in Pensacola, Panama City and Jacksonville -- focuses on Benghazi and highlights Murphy's support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"Congressman Murphy’s weakness is a threat to your freedom," Mark "Oz" Geist, a retired Marine who survived the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya, says in the ad.

The NRA in July endorsed Murphy's opponent, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Earlier this month, the NRA spent about $423,000 on direct-mail pieces supporting Rubio's re-election.

The NRA's TV ad "is nothing more than the gun lobby sending in a reward to their favorite senator who consistently supports their reckless agenda," Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement.

*This post has been updated with comment from the Murphy campaign.

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

Zika funds finally approved in late-night vote



Lawmakers had to stay late to get it done, but House passage of $1.1 billion in Zika prevention and research funds after a more than seven-month delay finally sends the bill to President Barack Obama's desk.

Despite having originally sought $1.9 billion in emergency Zika aid in February, Obama was expected to sign the broader $1.1 trillion stopgap appropriations measure that included the revamped Zika in a bid to break the partisan impasse over the money to combat the virus.

Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, the House voted 242-85 to pass the larger spending measure funding the federal government through Dec. 9. Seventy-five Republicans and 10 Democrats voted against it, none from Florida.

The House vote came hours after the Senate approved the spending packing with Zika funds by a 72-26 vote. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Orlando both voted for the measure.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was still not ready to forgive completely GOP lawmakers who'd targeted Planned Parenthood partner clinics in Puerto Rico and added extraneous provisions to the original Zika bill, moves that contributed to its delay.

"After more than 900 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Florida, House Republicans finally allowed us to pass most of the emergency funding we need to curb this public health crisis," the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman said.

While she called the Wednesday-night vote "a welcome start for Florida's pregnant women, business owners and families affected by the Zika virus," Wasserman Schultz added: "It has come many months later than it should have."

Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, head of the American Medical Association, praised the new Zika aid.

"It has been clear over the past several months that the U.S. has needed additional resources to combat the Zika virus," Gurman said. "With the threat of the virus continuing to loom this funding will help protect more people -- particularly pregnant women and their children -- from the virus' lasting negative health effects."

Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to Zika because it can cause birth defects such as microcephaly, which causes abnormally small brains and heads in newborns.

A large chunk of the $1.1 billion for Zika would go to Florida, New York and Puerto Rico, which combined have far more infections of the virus than any other states or territories.

The National Institutes for Health would receive more than $160 million of the Zika funds to continue its recently launched first clinical trial for a vaccine and to conduct other research.

Florida had 921 Zika cases as of Wednesday, including 92 involving pregnant women. One-hundred fifteen of the state's infections were transmitted directly by mosquitos.

The virus is carried primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but it can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected partner.

Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, praised bipartisan efforts of South Florida lawmakers to push the Zika funding.

"This is a tremendous victory for the South Florida delegation who has tirelessly worked together, from both sides of the aisle and both chambers, to raise the importance of this issue and help resolve it," he said.

In a floor speech late Wednesday, Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, also from Miami, acknowledged that "the process of getting this funding across the finish line has been frustrating at times and bogged down in unnecessary political gamesmanship."

Saying that Zika represented "an ongoing threat to the health of residents and to the economic vitality of businesses in South Florida," Curbelo praised final passage.

Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Palm Beach Democrat running for the Senate against incumbent Republican Marco Rubio, said the Zika funds "could not be more urgent as Florida quickly approaches 1,000 cases."

Republican Reps. David Jolly and Vern Buchanan, who had pushed their House Republican colleagues to approve Zika funding for months, also hailed the successful vote.




Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article104729131.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article104729131.html#storylink=cpy




Poll: Marco Rubio continues lead over Patrick Murphy

Rubio murphy


A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio potentially growing his lead over Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.

The survey of 826 likely voters this week found Rubio with 42 percent support, while Murphy had 35 percent and Libertarian Paul Stanton had 9 percent. About 15 percent were undecided. (The four independent candidates who will also be on the ballot weren't included in the poll.)

The 7-point gap is wider for Rubio when compared to PPP's last survey of Florida's U.S. Senate race a few weeks ago, when it was a virtual toss-up.

In a direct head-to-head between Rubio and Murphy, the newest poll found the pair were within the margin of error: Rubio had 47 percent to Murphy's 44 percent, with 9 percent unsure.

The poll results had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent. The survey was done Sept. 27-28.

Photo credit: AP / The Palm Beach Post

Independent U.S. Senate candidate favors blind voting for Congress

Khoury_tony 3@ByKristenMClark

One of the independent candidates running for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat this fall says he favors blind voting as a solution to the “hyper-partisanship” and gridlock of Congress.

Coral Gables aviation businessman Tony Khoury told the Miami Herald’s editorial board on Wednesday that “on certain hot issues” — like funding to combat the Zika virus — senators shouldn’t have to be pressured or labeled as having voted for or against a controversial measure.

“We should have 100 white marbles [and] 100 black marbles, and we should have a secretive vote so that way every senator will go in there and he has a choice,” Khoury said.

Khoury said he isn’t concerned that if senators didn’t have to put their names behind their positions, their constituents wouldn’t know how their representatives voted.

“In certain issues, does it matter when they have good things happening for the American people? Does it matter?” Khoury told the editorial board.

Read more here.