U.S. Senate Archives - SaintPetersBlog

Rick Scott’s political committee raises more than $2.9M in 2016

Gov. Rick Scott continued to grow his war chest in 2016, raising millions of dollars amid speculation he plans to mount a U.S. Senate bid in two years.

State records show Let’s Get to Work — the political committee that fueled Scott’s 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial races — raised more than $2.9 million in 2016. And that sum will likely rise, since the most recent campaign finance data does not include money raised in December.

The committee spent more than $2.5 million this year, including $227,666 for political consulting and $76,264 on surveys and research.

Scott can’t run for re-election in 2018 because of term limits, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be on the ballot. In November, Scott told reporters he was considering challenging U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018.

“It’s an option,” he said at the time, according to POLITICO Florida. “It’s an option I have. But right now, my whole focus is how do I do my best job as governor.”

He could face a tough race if he decides to challenge Nelson. The Orlando Democrat has served in the U.S. Senate since 2001. A recent poll from the Florida Chamber Political Institute showed 48 percent of Floridians approve of the job Nelson is doing in the U.S. Senate. The same survey showed 53 percent of Floridians approve of the job Scott is doing as governor.

But a recent Gravis Marketing poll conducted for the Orlando Political Observer indicated Nelson is the early favorite in 2018. The poll of 3,250 registered Florida voters showed the Orlando Democrat had a double-digit lead over Scott.

In a head-to-head match-up between Nelson and Scott, the poll showed Nelson would receive 51 percent compared to Scott’s 38 percent.

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Rick Scott considering bid for US Senate in 2018

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who challenged the Republican establishment six years ago and stormed his way into the governor’s mansion, now says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate.

During a wide-range interview with reporters on Tuesday, Scott conceded that “an option I have” is to run for the seat held by Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018. Nelson, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, has already said he plans to run for a fourth term.

Scott, who has already said he’s not interested in a potential job in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, didn’t lay out any kind of time table for a decision and instead said that he would continue to focus on his current post.

Scott said that in business he figured out that “if I do well every day in my job there would be a next opportunity.”

Scott was re-elected in 2014, but is limited by law from seeking another term.

Scott spoke of his intentions while attending the Republican Governors Association annual conference in Orlando where he said he was “excited” about Trump’s victory because he now had someone he could call on for help. Scott said that he had already talked to Trump three times since the election.

“I now have a president I can talk to,” said Scott, who repeatedly criticized the administration of President Barack Obama on a myriad of issues.

Scott’s bid for future office could be helped out by Trump, who Scott called a friend and said he’s someone he has known for 20 years. Scott endorsed Trump right after he won the Florida primary and stood by even as Trump came under fire for some of his comments during the campaign. He also was a chairman of a super PAC that raised $20 million that was used on ads in battleground states that were won by Trump.

Scott has compared his upstart victory in 2010 to Trump’s since the former health care executive ran against GOP favorite and then-Attorney General Bill McCollum. He noted that Republicans ran attack ads against him during the heated campaign.

During his remarks with reporters, Scott said it was time for Republicans who offered lukewarm support for Trump to now “embrace him.” He predicted that Trump could help the state on everything from flood insurance rates to securing federal funding for Everglades restoration and repairing the aging Lake Okeechobee dike.

Reprinted with the permission of the Associated Press

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Marco Rubio makes closing argument in new TV ad

Sen. Marco Rubio is making his closing arguments in his final TV spot.

According to the Rubio campaign, 30-second spot, called “Debt,” is meant to discuss each generation’s “debt and duty to the next.

“America is the greatest country in the world, and keeping it that way is every generation’s debt to the next,” he says in the advertisement. “Today, our country is more divided than ever and our challenges are growing more grave, threatening who we are and everything we hope to be.”

He goes on to say the upcoming election “is about the future, and about keeping America the one place in the world where any dream can still come true.”

Rubio faces Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election. The Miami Republican has led in almost every poll since announcing his re-election bid. According to RealClearPolitics, he has an average 3.2 percentage point lead over Murphy.

Rubio is hitting the trail this weekend to rally support in the final weekend of early voting. He is expected to attend three get out the vote events Saturday, starting the day with a rally at the Sandshaker Lounge in Gulf Breeze. From there, he’ll attend a rally at RV Connections at Panama City, before wrapping up his North Florida swing at the Republican Party of Florida’s Jacksonville Beach Victory Office.

More than 5.7 million Floridians have already voted, according to the state Division of Elections. State records show nearly 2.3 million Democrats and nearly 2.3 million Republicans have voted by mail or in person during the early voting period. Democrats have edged out Republicans on early vote totals by a margin of more than 7,000 votes.

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Report: FBI investigating donor scheme tied to Patrick Murphy

The FBI is investigating an alleged illegal donation scheme involving Rep. Patrick Murphy, according to a new report.

The Hill reported Tuesday that FBI is investigating a scheme involving a wealthy Saudi family that supports Murphy. According to the report, the Hill found no evidence Murphy was involved in the alleged scheme, and the campaign declined to say whether he was aware of the probe.

“This complaint was written by a Republican super PAC willing to say anything to elect Marco Rubio,” said Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp told The Hill. “Neither Patrick nor any current or past employees have ever been contacted regarding this matter, and we are confident an examination of the facts will result in its dismissal.”

According to The Hill, the investigation goes back to Murphy’s first congressional run in 2012. The claim, originally made by the Senate Leadership Fund, is that Ibrahim Al-Rashid, a friend of Murphy’s and political donor, coordinated a straw donor scheme to help Murphy.

The super PAC filed a complaint in June with the Federal Election Commission. According to The Hill, the complaint alleged 11 donors participated in a scheme to funnel contributions to Murphy.

Murphy is running against Sen. Marco Rubio in the state’s contentious U.S. Senate race. Rubio currently has an average 5.6 percentage point lead over Murphy, according to RealClearPolitics.

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American Federation of Teachers relaunches ad targeting Marco Rubio

The American Federation of Teachers is relaunching an ad campaign opposing Marco Rubio.

The organization announced Friday it was relaunching a campaign that claims Rubio “flip-flopped from writing legislation to provide relief to Puerto Rico to siding with hedge funds.”

“Time and time again, Marco Rubio has revealed where his allegiance lies. Rubio flip-flopped from writing legislation to provide relief for Puerto Rico, to siding with hedge funds demanding that Puerto Rico make deeper cuts in education and impose regressive taxes in order to pay of distressed debt,” said Michelle Ringuette, head of the organization’s political program. “As a result, 200 schools closed and millions of dollars were cut from education. During a time when Puerto Rico and Rubio’s constituents needed him in the face of a humanitarian crisis, Rubio came out on the side of pernicious hedge funds.”

The five-figure ad campaign will consist of one English-language statewide campaign ad. The organization ran the ad for two weeks earlier in the election cycle, according to the American Federation of Teachers.

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Miami GOP rainmaker Mike Fernandez endorses Patrick Murphy, gives $100K

Mike Fernandez is backing Democrat Patrick Murphy in his race against Republican Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate.

Fernandez, the Miami billionaire who is one of the nation’s largest GOP funders, announced his support of Murphy to the Miami Herald Friday morning. He told reporters the main reason he’s voting for Murphy is the Jupiter Democrat’s support for lifting the Cuba embargo.

As well as voting for Murphy, the Herald also reports Fernandez has given $100,000 to a pro-Murphy super PAC.

Fernandez has been a longtime Republican fundraiser — giving more than $3 million this cycle to a super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential run — and briefly served as finance chair for Gov. Rick Scott‘s 2014 re-election bid.

However, in September Fernandez announced he was formally endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

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Jeanette Rubio highlights husband’s support of the Girls Count Act in new ad

Jeanette Rubio is praising her husband’s work against human trafficking in a new campaign ad.

The Marco Rubio campaign released a new advertisement Friday featuring the Miami Republican’s wife. The 30-second spot gives Jeanette Rubio a chance to highlight the Girls Count Act, which helps ensure children in developing countries are registered at birth.

“Human trafficking is a tragedy. Of all the things Marco has done, the Girls Count Act is the one thing I’m most proud of,” says Jeanette Rubio in the advertisement. “Marco wrote the law that forces any country in the word that receives American aid to give little girls birth certificates when they are born. It doesn’t sound like much, but that one thing could save thousands of girls, and even if it just saves one, it is truly a blessing.”

According to Girl Up, a program run by the United Nations Foundation, one in 12 people around the world is a girl or young woman between the ages of 10-24. The organization reported most developing counties did not account for the number of girls in their population. In some countries, the reason might be that they don’t have the capacity to do it, while some “don’t prioritize girls.”

“This means that as a girl grows up it will be difficult, if not impossible, for her to attend school or get a job. She will not be able to own her own land or start her own business,” according to the Girl Up website. “She will not be able to vote.  She will likely be confined to the home and left unpaid — an invisible member of society.”

President Barack Obama signed the bill, which was sponsored by Rubio, into law in June 2015.

“There is a massive worldwide problem involving boys and especially girls for whom no official records exist because they were not registered at birth,” said Rubio in a March 2015 statement introducing the bill. “This leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, but it also leaves them excluded from accessing basic services in their countries, such as education.”

Rubio faces Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election. Rubio has been leading in the polls for months, with RealClearPolitics showing he has an average 3.6 percent lead over Murphy.

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Marco Rubio rallies the faithful during Naples stop

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.”

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Marco Rubio: ‘I don’t have any plan, any intention, any desire to run for office in 2020’

Marco Rubio sidestepped questions about Donald Trump, saying voters “will have to make their own decisions” about the Republican nominee.

“I think every race has to stand on its own; I’ve said that from the beginning,” said Rubio, following a campaign stop in Naples on Thursday. “If he wins, that doesn’t mean I win. If he loses, that doesn’t mean I lose. I think every candidate is going to have to stand on their own merits and their own ideas.”

The Miami Republican has been criticized in recent weeks for his continued support of Trump. Rep. Patrick Murphy continually brought up the New York businessman during a televised debate Wednesday, and has been hammering Rubio over his decision to back him.

But Rubio said he has “strong disagreements” with both candidates, and backs Trump because he doesn’t “want Hillary Clinton to be president.”

“People look at this (race) and say these are not ideal choices,” said Rubio. “But that’s one of the reasons I ran for Senate, because I know no matter who wins, we’re going to have to have a strong Senate.”

Rubio announced he was running for re-election just days before the qualifying deadline. His decision came after he repeatedly said he would not run for re-election after mounting a failed presidential bid.

Whether Rubio would run for president again in 2020 has been a question from opponents and on the campaign trail. During the first U.S. Senate debate, he said he planned to serve a full six-year term. He reiterated that Thursday, telling reporters he doesn’t plan to run in 2020.

“If I wanted to run for president, I wouldn’t have run for Senate. This is the toughest swing state in the country, and I got in at the very last minute after running a presidential race, so I’m focused on serving in the Senate,” said Rubio. “I don’t have any plan, any intention, any desire to run for any other office in 2020. I look forward to being in the Senate for six years and achieving a lot on behalf of our state.”

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Marco Rubio campaign reports raising $2.85M

Sen. Marco Rubio raised nearly $3 million ahead of the election, his campaign announced this week.

The campaign announced Thursday that Rubio raised $2.85 million in 19 days. According to the campaign, $1.74 million of that went directly to the campaign, while 1.1 million went to the “Rubio Victory Committee.”

According to the most recent campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission, Rubio raised more than $11.1 million through Sept. 30. Reports show he had $5.5 million cash-on-hand at the end of September.

The campaign announced its fundraising totals shortly after the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald reported Rep. Patrick Murphy loaned his campaign $1 million in October to pay for TV time in the final weeks of the election.

Federal campaign finance records show Murphy raised $13 million through Sept. 30. He reported having nearly $2.8 million cash-on-hand at the end of the month.

Campaigns are required to file pre-general election campaign reports by Thursday. Neither campaign’s report was immediately available Thursday afternoon.

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