Today is the first day in which U.S. House and U.S. Senate hopefuls in Florida can start to officially qualify for the 2016 elections.
Not wanting to waste any time, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy filed his paperwork -- and a $10,440 check for the filing fee -- in person this morning with the Florida Division of Elections.
Murphy technically "pre-qualified," as the official filing period for all candidates is June 20-24. He was the second U.S. Senate candidate to submit paperwork in person on Monday. Tony Khoury, an independent candidate from Miami, filed about 10 minutes before Murphy.
Murphy was joined this morning by Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, and state Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, who are supporting him in the Aug. 30 primary.
Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, is running against fellow Democrats U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith. The primary will decide which of them will be the Democratic candidate in the general election.
Murphy is viewed as a front-runner in the race, buoyed by favorable polling numbers, strong fundraising and the support of the Democratic Party establishment.
In fundraising emails over the weekend, Murphy's campaign pushed for more dollars from donors -- hoping to send a message to Republican Marco Rubio, should he change his mind and seek re-election to the seat he planned to vacate when he launched his unsuccessful bid for the presidency.
"Patrick’s not wasting any time getting on the ballot," a Sunday fundraising email from his campaign said. "Rubio has until the 24th to make up his mind -- but he could file as early as tomorrow morning! This is our chance to show him how hard we’re willing to fight against him if he does."
Rubio has said in recent interviews he isn't changing his mind, and he has unofficially endorsed Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera as his successor. But Republican leaders -- including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- are pressuring Rubio to run, as none of the five Republican contenders, including Lopez Cantera, have been able to break out from the crowded field after months on the campaign trail.
The other Republicans running in the Aug. 30 primary are: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach, U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Indian Shores, Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox and Manatee County home-builder Carlos Beruff.
Photo credit: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, center, joins Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy as Murphy files his paperwork for the 2016 elections at the Florida Division of Elections in Tallahassee on Monday, June 6, 2016. Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau.