Patrick Murphy Archives - Page 2 of 52 - SaintPetersBlog

Florida’s congressional delegation scores big WIIN, funding Everglades, water projects

Florida’s Congressional delegation scored a win this week with the passage of a bill that will fund major water projects in Florida, including the Central Everglades Planning Project.

Four Florida congressmen put out press releases Thursday touting their votes for The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016, which passed the House with a 360-61 vote.

WIIN would provide more than $1.5 billion in funding for Florida projects, including $976 million for Central Everglades Planning Project, $308 million for the Picayune Strand restoration project and $220 million for Port Everglades Dredging.

Republican Rep. Thomas Rooney put out a press release touting the bill’s CEPP provisions, which will significantly improve the water flows through the northern estuaries, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

“With Congressman Tom Rooney’s continued stewardship, we have seen significant progress toward restoring the Everglades,” said South Florida Water Management District Chairman Daniel O’Keefe in the press release. “Approval of the federal water bill by the full Congress, followed by appropriating funding, is vital to complete the Central Everglades Planning Project.”

Fellow Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart also joined in with a press release on WIIN, congratulating Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Bill Shuster for the bill’s passage.

“By investing in our nation’s ports, dams and drinking water services, we are not only helping the local economy, but also the families across the country that rely on having easy access to safe drinking water,” Diaz-Balart said. “The legislation also focuses on reducing the backlog of projects the Army Corps of Engineers have, saving taxpayer dollars and allowing the most important and necessary projects to be prioritized.”

Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch and Patrick Murphy also joined in with statements on the bill, though their feelings on the bill were somewhat mixed despite praise for provisions which will bring more business and jobs to South Florida.

“This bill is not perfect, and I’m disappointed that the Republican leadership included offensive provisions at the last minute putting water resources at risk in drought-afflicted California,” Deutch said. “As we begin the 115th Congress in January, I will continue to work tirelessly in Washington to fight for the interests of South Florida.”

Murphy added that while he was “disappointed to see partisan riders included in the WIIN Act instead of a bipartisan WRDA conference bill, Floridians should not have to wait another year for this project to be authorized.”

Ed Narain the latest name to be floated as potential chair of Florida Democratic Party

In the 72 hours since Allison Tant announced she would not run for another term as Florida Democratic Party chair, all sorts of names have been floated as possible successors.

DNC Committeeman Alan Clendenin, former House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, former Congressman Patrick Murphy, former lawmaker Dwight Bullard and former lieutenant governor candidate Annette Taddeo are just some of Florida Democrats being mentioned in the conversation.

Another is Ed Narain, the outgoing head of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, whose ascendancy in the Legislature was snuffed in August when he narrowly lost a run for the state Senate District 19 race to Darryl Rouson. Narain was elected to the Florida House District 59 seat in 2014 and would have easily won re-election to the seat this year, but opted to run for the open Senate seat.

“It’s an honor for my name to be discussed with other Democratic leaders from around the state but I’m an outsider when it comes to party politics and I’m not sure leading the party is where I can best contribute,” Narain wrote to FloridaPolitics on Sunday night about the his interest in the position — not completely rejecting a possible candidacy.

Meanwhile, former legislator and state education commissioner Betty Castor suggests a positive move for the FDP would be to move their headquarters outside of Tallahassee.

“It is obvious that the Democratic Party needs to build its bench,” Castor emailed to FloridaPolitics. “There are others far more intricately involved, but the Dems should start where there are opportunities. Democrats did well in Hillsborough and Orange with positive growth in Osceola as well as South Florida. Municipal elections are always prime areas. My own hope would be to see the state headquarters moved to a population center, perhaps Tampa.”

Former CFO Alex Sink said Tant did a relatively good job during her tenure, but thinks four years is long enough for any party chair.

“I think she’s done extremely well under challenging circumstances and let’s not forget the fact that we did carry the state for President Obama in 2012, when everybody in the country thought that Romney would win,” she said on Friday.

“I think that some of the other significant things that have been accomplished is this whole change of the politics of Orange and Seminole counties, and a very successful effort in energizing and registering Latinos, which is something that we’ll be able to build on in years to come, and the numbers of Latinos officeholders who were Democrats. There are lots of accomplishments that Allison can point to.”

Sink admits that having Florida go red for Donald Trump was extremely disappointing, but says that, in reality, Florida has been a red state over the past couple of decades, making it challenging for any party chair.

“It’s a burnout job,” she says of the position. “It’s thankless. It’s mainly fundraising, and when you don’t control the levers of power in Tallahassee, which we don’t, it’s tough. Not a single state office holder and almost super majorities in both houses of the Florida Legislature. You just don’t have a lot of leverage.”

Mitch Perry Report for 11.9.16 — GOP dominance

Where do you begin? One of the biggest political upsets in U.S. history, to start with, in Donald J. Trump beating Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States of America.

Lots of analysis there, including about the Democratic nominee, who for the second time in eight years, thought she had the presidency in her grasp, only to lose out — forever.

What about closer to home? Although Florida Democrats have had huge disappointments in 2010 and 2014 across the board, at least they had 2006, 2008, and 2012. But not 2016.

Down went Patrick Murphy, early into the evening. Down went Clinton, officially losing the state before 10 p.m.

In Hillsborough County, a House District 63 seat that has gone back and forth between Shawn Harrison and a Democrat and Shawn Harrison went this time to … Shawn Harrison, and not Lisa Monteliione.

Ross Spano won over Rena Frazier in HD 59. And Jackie Toledo easily defeated David Singer in the battle for House District 60 in Hillsborough County.

Wipe out city.

Congratulations to Blaise Ingoglia, who from the time he became the RPOF Chairman in early 2015 vowed to turn Florida red, and did so last night.

The Florida Democrats led by Allison Tant and Scott Arceneaux? I really don’t know.

What about Washington? It’s now got the presidency, the House and the Senate. Oh, and the Supreme Court as well, now that Mitch McConnell‘s move to not make a move on replacing Antonin Scalia will pay off big time next year.

In other news …

It was not a good night for Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. In addition to his girl, Hillary, losing in Florida, the mayor’s appeal for city voters to reject the charter amendment on allowing the city council to order internal audits won a smashing victory, 64-36 percent.

The upset of the night in Hillsborough County was Andrew Warren’s narrow victory over Mark Ober for state attorney.

It will be Jim Davison vs. Luis Viera in the special election in Tampa City Council District 7 race.

Charlie Crist defeated David Jolly in their CD 13 battle.

Donald Trump told Jack & Tedd on WFLA 970 yesterday morning he’d go quietly if he lost the election.

Now that he’s in the Senate for another six years, Marco Rubio waxes on how he can help make the political discourse a little more palatable in Washington.

Americans for Prosperity – Florida was one of over 50 groups who spent money in the Florida Senate race. In AFP’s case, they spent more than $2.5 million trying to bring down Patrick Murphy.

Bob Buckhorn was campaigning early yesterday against that charter amendment regarding the city council calling for their own internal audits of city departments.

Marco Rubio wins second term in U.S. Senate

Sen. Marco Rubio is heading back to Washington D.C.

The Miami Republican defeated Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida’s U.S. Senate race. According to preliminary election results, Rubio received 52 percent of the vote. Murphy received 45 percent.

The victory caps off a tough political year for Rubio. He faced a devastating loss in his home state in March, coming in second to Donald Trump in Florida’s presidential preference primary.

 “This nation is at a pivotal crossroads and throughout his career, Rubio has proven himself as a steadfast and distinguished conservative leader committed to holding government accountable,” said RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia. “Once again, our great state rewarded the Senator’s dedication to public service and protecting the founding principles of this country.  We look forward to working with him to restore the trust and confidence the American people want to have in their government.”

He jumped into the U.S. Senate race in June, after weeks of brushing off calls and questions about whether he was going to run for re-election. He often cited concerns about the top of the ticket as one of the reasons he was running for a second term.

Rubio spent months fielding questions about his tepid support for Trump and whether he planned to serve a full term if re-elected. In October, he said he would “serve six years in the United States Senate, God willing.”

Despite a big push to turn Florida blue, Murphy failed to gain traction.

The Treasure Coast Democrat was relatively unknown, despite having the support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden. He trailed Rubio in almost every poll since June, and was dogged by claims he padded his resume.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to be Florida’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. I’m proud of the campaign we built and so grateful for the passion Florida families across the state put in to this fight,” said Murphy in a statement. “While we hoped for a different result, the people of Florida have spoken and I respect their choice. I congratulate Senator Rubio on his victory and on the incredible honor of representing this state again in the U.S. Senate. Floridians are counting on him to fight for them, and he has my support in that fight.”

Murphy was first elected in 2012 to serve in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. He unseated Republican Rep. Allen West, and easily won re-election two years later. But his campaign was plagued by criticism of his limited accomplishments during his time in office.

Murphy said he is “grateful to the people of Florida’s 18th District for putting their trust in me over the past four years.”

“I will always remain true to that promise, and I will always fight for Florida,” he said.

On eve of election, Marco Rubio says it’s up to those in public office to inject more ‘responsible discourse’

Even before the end of this presidential election cycle, lots of Americans are concerned about how hard it might be to heal the divisions exposed in this country following the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton battle.

That includes Marco Rubio, who said Monday it’s not lawmakers in Washington who have to learn to get along better, but the public itself.

“We’ve reached a point in our political discourse where it’s not enough to disagree. People now believe that if someone has an opinion that you don’t agree with, then they’re a bad person. You have to delegitimize them as a person, and I hope we can pull back for a little bit,” Rubio said in speaking to two reporters who hung out until the end of his campaign stop with volunteers at the Hillsborough County Republican Party headquarters in Brandon.

A poll conducted by Monmouth University last month laid out those divisions starkly. It reported 70 percent of American voters say this year’s presidential campaign has brought out the worst in people. Only 4 percent say it has brought out the best in people. Another 5 percent said it had done a little of both, while 20 percent say it had done neither. Democrats (78 percent), Republicans (65 percent), and independents (66 percent) agree the 2016 campaign has brought out the worst in people.

Perhaps most depressingly, the poll found 7 percent of Americans reported losing a friend over this election. Slightly more Clinton supporters than Trump supporters reported losing friends.

“We have to be able to have the capacity to have debates over tough issues without ending up hating the people on the other side of it, and we’ve reached a very dangerous point in our politics where, I’m not just talking about political figures, I’m talking about everyday people, longtime friendships … have ended over a presidential campaign and over a political debate,” Rubio said. “We’re not going to be able to solve problems if we hate each other.”

“We can disagree on things,” the Florida GOP senator added. “We’ve always been a country with strong disagreements. But if we’re a nation where we’re literally at people’s throats, over every issue, we’re not going to be able to make a lot of progress. And so I hope that those of us who are in public service will do our part to try to inject more responsible discourse into our politics.”

Rubio will learn later on Tuesday whether he’ll spend the next six years commuting from Miami to Washington D.C. as Florida’s junior senator — or six more weeks, if Democrat Patrick Murphy can upset him in their contest for U.S. Senate.

Americans for Prosperity spends more than $2.5 million to effort to defeat Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy frequently bashed Marco Rubio on the campaign trail this fall as a “puppet of the Koch Brothers,” citing the 98 percent grade he received from Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political advocacy group considered the political arm of Charles and David Koch.

In fact, AFP’s Florida chapter announced Monday they knocked on more than one million doors and spoke to over three million people on the phone in their effort to defeat Murphy’s bid for U.S. Senate. They also launched a website, PayMorePatrickMurphy.com along with TVdigital, and mail ads to try to ensure the Treasure Coast Democrat doesn’t win tonight’s U.S. Senate race against Rubio. It’s unusual in the respect that the group is best known for working on legislative issues at the state level, and has rarely become involved in Florida electoral politics.

“The majority of our work is not that world at all,” admits Andres Malave, a spokesperson for AFP-Florida. He hints that may be changing in the future, however.

“We usually focus on state issues, and as we in Florida continue to grow, we’re now, I think, at a point where we’re going to start doing a lot more work to try to impact the work of our federal delegation, and certainly the senators,” he said, but admits that when it comes to a direct advocacy campaign such as what they’ve employed against Murphy, “we have not partaken in it a lot.”

One exception was in 2012, when the group spent money in direct advocacy in Florida against the re-election of President Obama. 

Andres said the same issues AFP-Florida opposes in the state were obvious targets against Murphy, referring to opposition to a “pay-to-play attitude,” corporate welfare, and acceptance of the Affordable Care Act. “All of those boxes Patrick Murphy checked. And for us it was just an opportunity to rally our base and make them understand why it was so critical to keep him out.”

AFP-Florida was one of more than 50 outside groups to spend money in the U.S. Senate campaign. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Americans for Prosperity had spent more than $2.5 million into the Florida Senate race.

It’s not the party, it’s the after party: Where to find Tampa Bay candidates on election night

Election night parties will be raging across the state Tuesday. For some, it’s a chance to pop some bottles and celebrate. For others, it will be a somber event, marking the last hurrah of a long, hard-fought campaign.

Want to party like a politician? Here’s a rundown of where candidates will be as the polls close.

U.S. Senate

It was one of the most-watched U.S. Senate races this election cycle. And on Tuesday night, both Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy will be toasting the crowd in South Florida.

Rubio will attend an election night party at the Hilton Miami Airport, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive in Miami. The party is expected to begin around 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Murphy will be in Palm Beach Gardens. The Democrat is set to attend an election night party at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott, 4000 RCA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Rubio has consistently led in the polls since announcing his re-election bid in June. Outside groups have poured millions of dollars into the race to re-elect Rubio; Murphy had the backing of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Although not on the ballot, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will join Hillary for Florida supporters for an election night watch party in Tampa at the Florida Ballroom, 2nd Floor, Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 700 South Florida Avenue. After a day of Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts, attendees will watch Clinton deliver remarks to supporters and volunteers at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Joining Nelson will be U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, state Rep. Ed Narain and state Rep.-Elect Sean Shaw.

U.S. House

CD 12 — Rep. Gus Bilirakis will hold his election night party at the St. Nicholas Cathedral Center, 348 N. Pinellas Ave. in Tarpon Springs. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m., and will include a visit from Shalyah Fearing, a semifinalist on NBC’s The Voice. Bilirakis faces Democrat Robert Matthew Tager in the general election.

gus-bilirakis

CD 13 — Rep. David Jolly will hold his election night party in the grand ballroom at The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, 501 5th Ave. NE in St. Petersburg. The fun begins at 6 p.m. Jolly faces former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, in the general election.

jolly-party-vinoy

CD 18 — Republican Brian Mast will hold his election night party at Spoto’s Oyster Bar, 131 SW Flagler Ave. in Stuart. The party kicks off at 6 p.m. Democrat Randy Perkins is holding his party at Big Apple Pizza, 2311 S. 35th St. in Fort Pierce. Perkins’ party is expected to begin around 7 p.m.

CD 19 — Republican Francis Rooney will hold his election night party at Bistro 41, 13499 Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers. The party begins at 6 p.m. Rooney faces Democrat Robert M. Neeld in the general election.

State Senate/House

SD 16 — Team Latvala — Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala and his son, first-term state Rep. Chris Latvala — will be holding a joint election night Party beginning 7 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. NcMullen Booth Rd. in Clearwater. The elder Latvala is running unopposed in SD 16.

team-latvala

SD 18 – Florida House Majority Leader Dana Young is holding her Election Night Watch Party beginning 6 p.m. at Pane Rustica, 3225 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. No RSVP is necessary. Young is running in the newly drawn Senate District 18 against Democrat Bob Buesing, as well as no-party-affiliated candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove.

dana-young-watch-party

HD 63 – Democrat Lisa Montelione is hosting an Election Night Watch Party at Mr. Dunderbaks, 14929 Bruce B Downs Blvd. in Tampa. Party begins at 6:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Food will be provided and there will be a cash bar. Montelione, a former Tampa City Councilwoman, faces incumbent Republican Shawn Harrison in HD 63.

HD 66/HD 67/HD 68 — The Republican Party of Pinellas County holds its joint-candidate Election Night Watch Party at the St. Petersburg Hilton, 950 Lake Carillion Dr. in Clearwater. Doors open at 6 p.m., with a cash bar. In attendance will be State Rep. Larry Ahern, who is running for re-election in House District 66, facing Democrat Lorena Grizzle. Chris Latvala is also scheduled to make an appearance. Latvala is running for re-election in House District 67, facing Democrat David Vogel. Also at the Hilton event will be JB Bensmihen, who faces Democrat Ben Diamond in House District 68.

multi-candidate-victory-party

HD 69 — Rep. Kathleen Peters will host an election night party at Middle Grounds Grill, 10925 Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island. The party begins at 6:30 p.m.

kathleen-peters

HD 70 — Former St. Petersburg City Councilmember Wengay Newton will host an election night Watch Party for his campaign in Florida House District 70 beginning 6:30 p.m. at The Hangar Restaurant & Flight Lounge in downtown St. Pete. The Hangar is located at the Albert Whitted Airport Terminal, 540 1st St. SE. Second Floor in St. Petersburg. RSVP at 727-823-PROP.

screencapture-file-f-wengay-newton

County races

Pinellas County Commission District 3 — Mike Mikurak will also make an appearance at the Republican Party of Pinellas County event at the St. Petersburg Hilton. Mikuriak is running against incumbent Democrat Charlie Justice.

Hillsborough County Commission District 6 — Pat Kemp holds her watch party at the Italian Club in Ybor City, 1731 E. 7th Ave. in Tampa. The party begins at 6:30 p.m.

pat-kemp-watch-party

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser — Bob Henriquez holds his election watch party at the Outpost, 909 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. Event begins at 7 p.m. with live music, food and a cash bar. RSVP at www.Henriquez2016.com. Henriquez is running for re-election against first-time candidate Todd Jones, who is a private-sector appraiser.

bob-henriquez

New Florida poll shows Hillary Clinton with 3-point lead over Donald Trump, tight race between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy

A new poll of likely Florida voters gives Hillary Clinton one of her largest leads in weeks.

According to a new poll from St. Pete Polls, Clinton holds a 3-point lead over Republican Donald Trump in the Sunshine State. The poll of 2,319 likely Florida voters shows Clinton at 48 percent, followed by Trump at 45 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson received 3 percent support, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 1 percent.

About 2 percent of respondents said they were voting for someone else.

The automated email/web survey was conducted Nov. 1 through No. 6. The voters were chosen at random within the registered voter population in Florida, and has a margin of error of 2 percent.

The poll gives Clinton a much larger lead in the Sunshine State than she’s enjoyed in weeks. In a four-way race, Trump currently holds an average lead of 0.2 percentage points in Florida, according to RealClearPolitics.

The polling aggregation website shows Clinton led Trump by either 1 or 2 percentage points in four of the last seven polls used as to determine polling averages. The two candidates were tied in a recent CBS News/YouGov poll, while Trump led Clinton by either 3 or 4 percentage points in two polls.

According to the St. Pete Polls survey, Clinton has the support of 45 percent of independent voters, 88 percent of black voters, and 58 percent of Hispanic voters. Trump is backed by 41 percent of independent voters, 54 percent of white voters, and 49 percent of males.

While the St. Pete Polls survey showed Clinton pulling ahead, it showed a much closer race between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy. The poll showed Rubio and Murphy were essentially tied, with Murphy at 46.2 percent and Rubio at 45.5 percent.

That runs contrary to most other polls conducted this election cycle. The Miami Republican has led in nearly every poll since he announced he was running for re-election in June. Three polls conducted since June 25 showed the two men tied, according to RealClearPolitics. Rubio led in all of the other polls used by RealClearPolitics to calculate the polling average.

RealClearPolitics currently shows Rubio with an average 3.2 percentage point lead over Murphy.

St. Pete Polls showed 46 percent of respondents said they planned to vote for Amendment 1, the solar power amendment, while 42 percent said they did not plan to vote for it. Nearly 9 percent of voters said they were unsure; while 3 percent indicated they would skip the amendment.

There appears to be widespread support for Amendment 2, the medical marijuana ballot initiative. The poll found 70 percent of voters said they planned to vote for it, compared to 25 percent who said they would be voting no. About 4 percent were unsure, while nearly 2 percent indicated they would skip the ballot measure.

Both constitutional amendments need 60 percent of the vote to pass.

It’s likely to be a close election in Florida, again

Another close election in Florida? Count on it.

Through Friday, 2,268,663 Democrats and 2,261,383 Republicans had cast ballots by mail or at early voting sites – a difference of 7,280 in favor of Democrats. Overall, more than 5.7 million Floridians have voted, or nearly 45 percent of those registered. That far surpasses 2012 totals, when 4.8 million Floridians cast ballots before Election Day.

As early voting was set to end in 51 of Florida’s 67 counties Saturday, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump once again were campaigning in the Sunshine State. Their running mates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence and other top surrogates have been frequent visitors in the state that’s a must-win for Trump’s presidential campaign.

“How many of you have already voted?” Clinton asked a crowd in Broward County. The response was enthusiastic cheers. “OK, so that means you’ve got time to get everybody else to get out and vote, right?”

Earlier in Tampa, Trump told supporters at a rally that 66 of the state’s 67 counties supported him in Florida’s primary last March.

“Florida is just a place I love – my second home, I’m here all the time. I might know Florida better than you do,” Trump said. “I see maybe more enthusiasm right now than I did (in March).”

Florida’s 29 electoral votes are the biggest prize in Tuesday’s presidential election among states that could swing to either candidate. In 2000, Florida set the standard for close presidential elections when George W. Bush beat Al Gore by 537 votes out of about 6 million cast. It took five weeks to call the election in the state that determined the presidency.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was campaigning across north Florida Saturday, starting with an event at a Pensacola Beach bar. He’s being challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.

Unlike Murphy, Rubio has avoided campaigning with his party’s presidential nominee. While he supports Trump, he has condemned his words and behavior.

Murphy attended a Broward County rally with Clinton and later planned to attend a St. Petersburg concert with singer Jon Bon Jovi and Kaine.

While only 16 counties will continue early voting on Sunday, they are some of the state’s largest, including Democratic strongholds of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Democrats were planning “souls to the polls” events encouraging African-American churchgoers to take advantage of the last day of early voting in the counties where polls will be open.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Marco Rubio is confident that heavy Latino turnout will help him win Senate race

BRANDON — Although Marco Rubio is a clear favorite to win re-election to his U.S. Senate seat tomorrow night, he wasn’t doing a victory lap when he made a visit to the Hillsborough County Republican Party headquarters in Brandon Monday morning.

“Two-hundred and seventy-five thousand Republicans who requested a mail ballot have not returned it yet,” he told the crowd who surrounded him inside the small lobby area of the office. “We’re going to have to start guiding them, because if they have a ballot and haven’t put it in the mail yet, they’re not going to be able to vote unless they show up with that ballot, so we gotta walk ’em through that process.”

“Please come out and vote,” he implored the crowd. “What if this race comes to down to 100 votes? Whether it’s for president, senator or Congress, what if it’s one of those years? Do you want to be one of those 100 people that decided not to vote?”

Rubio has led his Democratic rival, Patrick Murphy, in virtually every poll taken between the two Senate candidates in Florida all year long. However, the Murphy camp was playing up a SurveyMonkey poll released Monday that actually shows him up by a single point, 49 percent to 48 percent. A Quinnipiac survey, however, showed the norm, with Rubio up 50 percent to 43 percent.

An emerging story that has come out of the past two weeks of early voting in Florida has been the explosion of Latino voters. Rubio has always held a substantial lead Murphy with that key demographic in polls of the Senate race, and the Cuban-American legislator said he’s earned the support of the Hispanic community.

“I don’t think anyone understands the issues in the Hispanic community better than I do,” he said. “I live in the community — my wife is from the community as well, so for me these are not political issues when we discuss them, they are things I’ve lived. It’s my life.” Rubio said there’s no one one in the Senate who has worked harder or spent more time on Latin American issues than he has. He added that it’s the beginning of a new era in politics if the much-vaunted potential of a strong Hispanic vote actually takes place this year. “I’m glad they’re voting, because that means from here on out, every candidate for statewide office and for president is going to have to care about the Hispanic community in Florida, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

There have been anecdotal reports that some in the Latino community are splitting their ticket in Florida: voting for Hillary Clinton as a statement against Donald Trump for president, but then coming back and supporting Rubio in the Senate contest. This morning marked yet another time when both Trump and Rubio were campaigning in Florida — separately, however, and not at the same event.

“We want everyone’s vote,” Rubio said. “I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president, but people are going to have to make their own decisions. “

Dover GOP House District 59 Republican Ross Spano introduced Rubio to the crowd. Spano backed Rubio in the presidential primaries earlier this year until he dropped out after his devastating loss in the Florida primary to Trump, where he won only Miami-Dade County.

“We need men and women like Sen. Rubio to represent us,” said Spano, calling him “one of the brightest, strongest political figures that have come on the stage in several decades.”

Spano is himself running in what could be an extremely close race for re-election, against attorney Rena Frazier. Unlike Spano, however, Frazier never went up on the air with a television ad.

Meanwhile, Rubio refused to comment on whether or not he supported Amendment One, the solar power initiative which comes heavily funded from the public utility industry in Florida. He did say once again he is opposing Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative, saying, “if they want to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes they should go through the FDA process to be approved just like any other medicine, but I’m not in favor of the way it was drafted and where I think it will take Florida.”

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