Sen. Marco Rubio used a stop in deep-red Collier County to gin up supporters and encourage Floridians to get out and vote.
The Miami Republican held a get-out-the vote rally in Naples on Thursday. The campaign stop came just one day after the second and final U.S. Senate debate, and Rubio used the stop to hammer Rep. Patrick Murphy over his limited congressional accomplishments.
“I’m running against someone who has been in Congress for four years; he’s not a theory, he’s not a businessman that’s coming in from the outside,” he told a crowd of about 200 people at 7th Avenue Social in downtown Naples, one block from a popular early voting location. “He’s been in Congress for four years, and yet he’s never had a bill that he wrote that has been passed into law.”
Rubio resorted to familiar attacks, pointing to claims Murphy padded his resume. The claims have been a frequent point of contention during the election, and have been at the center of several attack ads.
He criticized Murphy, honing in on comments the Treasure Coast Democrat made during the debate Wednesday.
“(He said) ‘when I got to Congress I started a bipartisan group. So I just passed all these laws, I’m banned from going to Nicaragua, I’m banned from going to Venezuela … and he’s bragging about starting a club,” said Rubio. “We cannot afford a U.S. senator from one of the most important states in the country that can’t get things done on behalf of you.”
The rally was meant to energize supporters in a deep red county. There are 199,889 registered voters in Collier County, 51 percent of whom are registered Republicans.
He hoped to tap back into that support network Thursday, encouraging the crowd to “vote early.”
“Vote once, and vote right,” he said, after joking he wanted to tell supporters to vote early and often. “We’ll win; we’ll turn this country around. We’re going to leave our children as the freest and most prosperous Americans that ever lived, and Florida as most prosperous state in America.”
According to the Division of Elections, as of Thursday more than 2.4 million had already cast their ballots.
“We’re not just choosing between political parties and ideologies, we’re choosing between two very different destinies: An America greater and ever more prosperous than before, or a once-great nation in decline,” said Rubio. “That is the crossroads with which we are at, and we must make a choice right now and it begins in this election.”