U.S. Senate Archives - Page 6 of 28 - SaintPetersBlog

Marco Rubio announces $2.1 million nine-day fundraising haul

After less than two weeks, Marco Rubio’s re-election campaign is showing major momentum.

Politico is reporting that Rubio has flexed his fundraising muscle with more than $2.1 million raised since re-entering the race, according to an email Friday morning to supporters.

“Thanks to a tremendous effort lead by Ambassador John Rood and several others,” wrote Rubio finance director Anna Rogers, “we’re thrilled to tell you we raised over $2.1M in just nine days!”

Rogers added that one of Rubio’s Democratic rivals, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, raised about the same amount — $2.4 million — during the “entire” first quarter. Murphy faces fellow Congressman Alan Grayson in the Senate Democratic primary.

“This is a great story for us to tell and is a testament to Marco and to you, the supporters driving this campaign,” Rogers said.

With more than tens of millions of dollars to be raised on both sides, many expect Florida’s Senate contest to be among the nation’s costliest and most competitive.

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Bill Nelson urges Mitch McConnell to bring back Senate’s $1.1B Zika funding proposal

Sen. Bill Nelson is urging Senate leaders to bring back a $1.1 billion proposal that would help fight the spread of Zika.

The request comes just one day after the Florida Department of Health announced 11 new cases of Florida, bringing the total number of travel-related cases in the Sunshine State to 263.

In a letter Thursday, the Florida Democrat asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bipartisan $1.1 billion bill the Senate passed back to the floor for a vote as a standalone bill. Last week, the Senate voted down a $1.1 billion House proposal.

Democrats blocked the GOP-drafted measure by a 52-48, short of the 60 votes required to advance it. The party faulted Republicans for packing the bill with provisions designed to deny new funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico and ease rules on pesticide spraying.

Nelson told McConnell reminded that “both sides of the aisle came together on the Senate Floor” to pass its version of the $1.1 billion funding proposal.

“I strongly urge you to advance a bipartisan bill that provides emergency funding, and is free of misguided policy riders,” said Nelson in his letter. “Time is of the essence.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 930 cases of travel-related cases of Zika reported in the United States. So far none of the cases have been locally transmitted.

Last week, the Florida Department of Health announced it had confirmed its first case of microcephaly in an infant born in Florida whose mother had a travel-related case of Zika. The mother contracted Zika while in Haiti.

In his letter, Nelson said lawmakers need to stop using funding as a vehicle to advance politics and take a bipartisan approach to funding.

“Funding our nation’s Zika response is something that simply cannot wait any longer and it cannot be used as a vehicle to advance partisan, ideological positions,” he said. “Surely, this is something that members of both parties can agree to.”

___

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Carlos Beruff takes aim at Marco Rubio in new advertisement

Carlos Beruff is taking aim at Marco Rubio in a new digital advertisement.

The 35-second spot — called “Unequivocal” and released Monday morning — splices together clips of Rubio, who announced last week he was running for re-election, responding to questions of whether he would commit to a full six-year term in the Senate with clips of broadcasters calling him robotic.

In each of the clips, Rubio is saying essentially the same thing — that he will no longer make unequivocal statements.

“The voters of Florida deserve a Senator who is committed to doing the job he’s been hired to do, but that’s not what they’ll get with Marco Rubio, who won’t even commit to serving a full six-year term or deny he won’t use the seat to run for president again,” said Joanna Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Beruff campaign, in a statement. “Floridians are tired of Marco’s robotic responses and Washington-approved talking points. It’s time for a change. We can’t afford six (or less) more years of the same old Marco.”

Rubio repeatedly said he was not going to run for re-election, and that he planned to return to private life at the end of his term. On Wednesday, he reversed course and announced he intends to run for re-election.

Rubio will face Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

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Jac VerSteeg: How Marco Rubio might get Hillary Clinton elected

Marco Rubio says he decided to run for reelection because it will be imperative to have people like him in the U.S. Senate if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“There’s [a] role for the Senate that could end up being its most important in the years to come: The Constitutional power to act as a check and balance on the excesses of a president.”

But it is worth asking: Does Rubio’s decision to run make it more likely that Clinton will become president?

It’s easy to envision a scenario in which it does. Eagerness to drive a political stake through Rubio’s heart could increase Democratic turnout in Florida, throwing the most important swing state – and therefore the election – to Clinton.

Think about it. Democrats hardly would be whipped into a frenzy by a desire to defeat, say, Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Most voters probably still are fuzzy at best on who, exactly, Lopez-Cantera is. But Rubio? He’s become a high-profile target.

The wish to stick it to Rubio also plausibly would be a better election-day mobilizer than any positive feeling toward either Rep. Patrick Murphy or Rep. Alan Grayson, who are battling it out to be the Democratic senatorial nominee.

Rubio’s insinuation that the Orlando massacre influenced his decision to seek reelection only heightens Democratic anger toward him. Before, the biggest knock on Rubio was that he was a slacker who couldn’t be bothered to show up to work in the Senate. Damaging, yes, but not something to make Democrats get out and vote.

Now, though, Rubio is the hypocrite who steadfastly has opposed LGBT equality and common sense gun control yet has the gall to imply he’s running in response to the assault-weapon massacre perpetrated at a gay night club?

How epically self-serving.

Rubio’s anti-LGBT record is exactly the kind of issue that could motivate young Democrats and Independents who otherwise might have stayed home to make the effort to vote. As a group, they might not even have been that enamored of Clinton. But if they take the trouble to vote against Rubio in remembrance of Orlando, they might just vote for Clinton while they’re at it.

For Clinton to win in November, she’ll need a big turnout of Democrats in the Orlando area – precisely the area that ought to be most offended by Rubio’s decision to use the Pulse horror as his excuse to run. Democratic turnout in South Florida also is a key, and that’s also an LGBT-friendly venue.

Plus, Rubio’s flip-flop on immigration is a double-whammy in those two regions. Not only does it anger Hispanics who feel he stabbed them in the back by abandoning immigration reform, it angers those who remember that gay Hispanics were targeted in the Pulse attack.

Current polls show Rubio beating either Murphy or Grayson. But if Democrats exploit Rubio’s Pulse hypocrisy with skill, Rubio might just help them beat Trump.

___

Jac Wilder VerSteeg is a columnist for The South Florida Sun Sentinel and former deputy editorial page editor for The Palm Beach Post.

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Jeb Bush throws his support behind Marco Rubio in U.S. Senate bid

Jeb Bush has picked his candidate in the U.S. Senate race.

The former Florida governor announced Thursday he was backing Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate race. The announcement came one day after Rubio announced he was running for re-election.

Bush took to Twitter on Thursday to announce his support, saying he is “joining many good conservatives in supporting” Rubio. He continued by saying there is “nothing more important than” keeping a Republican majority in the Senate.

JEBENDORSE

Both men were among the more than a dozen Republicans vying for their party’s nomination for president. During the campaign, Bush had a few harsh words, including telling him he should be showing up to work.

“I’m a constituent of the Senator, and I helped him, and I expected he would do constituent services, which meant he would show up to work,” said Bush during the CNBC debate in October. “When you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work.”

Bush dropped out of the race after the South Carolina primary. Rubio dropped out a few weeks later after a disappointing showing in the Florida primary.

Rubio faces Republicans Todd Wilcox and Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

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Tom Jackson: Seeking Florida voters’ forgiveness, Marco Rubio hits the reset button

That whooshing sound, like a battalion of leaf blowers set on high, is the hierarchy of the Republican Party responding to a rare moment of good news. Marco Rubio, who shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to leave in the first place, says he’s decided to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate.

The Washington Post, never missing an opportunity, highlights an irrelevancy: Rubio is going back on a pledge not to run. Really? That was so last March. Or April. Anyway, it was sufficiently long ago to have become antique in political ages. Situations change. Stuff happens.

Sometimes revoking a pledge is the most honorable course. Hey, the Continental Congress of 1776 assembled with the idea of reconciling with George III and England. So Rubio declared independence from his presidential candidate self. Maybe this will put him on the right side of history, too.

After all, Rubio’s reversal is precisely the course recommended by a FloridaPolitics.com contributor (*blush*) a little more than three weeks ago.

For a young man in a hurry, Rubio sure took his time on this one. Sort of makes you think there were some ridiculously lucrative private-sector suitors waiting in the wings.

However, Donald Trump notwithstanding, there is virtually no route to the White House from the private sector. And we have to believe, at 45, Rubio still aches for the prospect of getting his mail delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

So it’s back to the campaign trail, where re-election to the Senate from the nation’s third-largest state would re-establish him as a Republican on the rise — especially if he commits to the work. But this time, the work will be everything.

The GOP presidential debates revealed to the nation a young senator with a granular understanding of what ails us and a grand, articulate vision of appealing center-right remedies. But Donald Trump happened. Now Rubio is demonstrating, also, adaptability.

Since his return to the Senate, he’s been entirely, well, senatorial. He’s been an energetic fixture on the floor, sometimes in opposition to GOP leadership, as in the case of his support to fully fund President Obama’s anti-Zika-virus plan. He swapped approving the new ambassador to Mexico, on which he’d put a hold, for continued sanctions against Venezuela’s socialist regime. And he’s up to his waders in Everglades cleanup legislation.

As he told POLITICO back in early May, “A couple times I’ve wondered, ‘Boy, if we had a couple more years, we could really get some stuff done.’”

Now he seems determined to give himself that chance.

Quinnipiac reports the race is Rubio’s to lose. In a poll released Wednesday, he leads the top Democratic candidates, Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, by 7 and 8 points, respectively. The same poll shows other Republican candidates losing handily.

Yes, June. Yes, the primaries haven’t happened, and Democrats haven’t coalesced. Yes, name recognition and all the rest. But 7 points ahead is a good starting place, allowing the Florida GOP to tout an alternate anchor near the top of the November ballot, and Republicans nationally to talk with seriousness about retaining their Senate majority against the excesses of whoever moves into the White House next January.

And, as described in my post urging him to seek re-election, staying in the Senate works to his long-term advantage. If he wins, it will require earning some forgiveness from Florida voters. And, because it bears constant reiteration, if, this time, he rewards their forgiveness by doing their work.

___

Recovering sports columnist and former Tampa Tribune columnist Tom Jackson argues on behalf of thoughtful conservative principles as our best path forward. Fan of the Beach Boys, pulled-pork barbecue and days misspent at golf, Tom lives in New Tampa with his wife, two children and two yappy middle-aged dogs.

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Ted Cruz endorses Marco Rubio in his re-election bid

A one-time opponent is throwing his support behind Marco Rubio.

On Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz said he was “glad to support” Rubio in his re-election bid. Cruz, a Texas Republican, was one of more than a dozen Republicans who ran for president earlier this year.

“Marco Rubio a friend and has been an ally in many battles we have fought together in the Senate. I’m glad to support him in his bid for re-election,” he said in a Facebook post shortly after Rubio’s announcement. “Marco is a tremendous communicator and a powerful voice for the American Dream. At this time of great challenges, we very much need strong leaders in the Senate who will fight to restore economic growth, to defend our constitutional liberties, and to ensure a strong national security for our nation.”

According to Elaina Plott with the Washingtonian, Rubio reached out to Cruz to confirm he intended to run. The Washingtonian reported that Rubio asked Cruz to send out a statement urging the Miami Republican to run for re-election, but Cruz declined because he didn’t want to be seen as pushing Rep. Ron DeSantis out of the race.

DeSantis has not said publicly what he plans to do, but many expect him to end his Senate bid and run for the House.

Rubio announced Wednesday he was planning to run for re-election, reversing a previous commitment to return home at the end of his term in January.

While Rubio said he made the decision at home with his family, not in Washington, he did have the support of several top Republicans.

Rubio also appeared to get support from Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, another one-time presidential opponent. In a tweet Wednesday, Kasich said “keeping (Rubio) serving in the Senate is good news for the people of FL & our entire nation. Good luck, Marco!”

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Reversing course, Marco Rubio announces he will seek re-election

It’s official: Marco Rubio is running for re-election.

The Miami Republican announced Wednesday he planned to run again in 2016. The announcement came after weeks of speculation about whether Rubio would seek another term in the U.S. Senate. The decision reverses a pledge to return to private life when his term was over in January.

“In politics, admitting you’ve changed your mind is not something most people like to do. But here it goes,” said Rubio in a statement. “I have decided to seek re-election to the United States Senate. I understand my opponents will try to use this decision to score political points against me. Have at it. Because I have never claimed to be perfect, or to have all the answers.”

Rubio announced in 2015 he was running for the presidency. While he was considered by many to be a top contender, his presidential campaign failed to gain steam. He suspended his campaign in March, following a poor showing in the Florida primary.

Rubio received 27 percent of the vote, coming in second behind Republican Donald Trump. Trump won nearly 46 percent of the vote, coming out on top in most of the state’s 67 counties.

In his announcement Wednesday, Rubio said: “no matter who is elected president, there is reason for worry.”

“With Hillary Clinton, we would have four more years of the same failed economic policies that have left us with a stagnant economy. We would have four more years of the same failed foreign policy that has allowed radical Islam to spread, and terrorists to be released from Guantánamo,” he said. “And even worse, if Clinton were president and her party took control of Congress, she would govern without Congressional oversight or limit. It would be a repeat of the early years of the current administration, when we got Obamacare, the failed stimulus, and a record debt.”

Rubio said the prospect of a “Trump presidency is also worrisome.”

“It is no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald Trump. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable,” said Rubio. “If he is elected, we will need Senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him. I’ve proven a willingness to do both.”

Political observers have long said the state’s Senate race will be one to watch, and Republicans have said it could be key to keeping control of the Senate. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning found Rubio was the best bet for Republicans in a general election matchup.

The survey found Rubio would defeat Democrat Patrick Murphy 47 percent to 40 percent. In a hypothetical matchup between Rubio and Democrat Alan Grayson, Rubio would receive 48 percent of the vote to Grayson’s 40 percent.

Rubio said Wednesday the Senate is a place “from which you can perform great services for the people you have the honor of representing.” He also called the Senate a place “from which great policy advances can be made.”

“But as we begin the next chapter in the history of our nation, there’s another role for the Senate that could end up being its most important in the years to come: The Constitutional power to act as a check and balance on the excesses of a president,” he said. “Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida. That means the future of the Supreme Court will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the future of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat. The stakes for our nation could not be higher.”

Rubio’s decision, which comes just two days before the end of the qualifying period, has already had an impact on the Republican field. Five Republicans had initially thrown their hat in the race to replace Rubio, but that number is quickly dwindling.

Rep. David Jolly announced last week that he was dropping his Senate bid, choosing to run for re-election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Rep. Ron DeSantis is also expected to end his Senate bid.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a longtime friend of Rubio’s and a Senate candidate, said he encouraged Rubio to reconsider his decision. Lopez-Cantera said he would not file to run if Rubio decided to get in the race, and on Wednesday made it official.

“As his friend, I know this was a thoughtful yet difficult decision that was made with our country’s best interest at heart. Florida needs a principled conservative leader now more than ever, and that is what Marco has been and will continue to be,” he said in a statement. “Additionally, as I previously stated, I will not file as a candidate in this U.S. Senate race, continuing my service as Florida’s lieutenant governor with Governor Scott focusing on Florida.”

Republicans Todd Wilcox and Carlos Beruff both said they plan to stay in the race, regardless of Rubio’s decision. In a statement Wednesday, Beruff said he is “not going to back down from the Washington establishment.”

“This isn’t Marco Rubio’s seat; this is Florida’s seat. The power brokers in Washington think they can control this race.  They think they can tell the voters of Florida who their candidates are. But the voters of Florida will not obey them,” said Beruff. “Like Marco Rubio in 2010, I’m not going to back down from the Washington establishment. They are the problem, not the solution.”

Wilcox said he decided to run “because of the complete failure on the part of our elected civilian leadership to solve the problems we face as a nation.”

“I am tired of going into the voting booth and holding my nose to vote for the least-worst candidate on the ballot.  We need to elect serious leaders that understand our enemies and our economy,” said Wilcox. “I have 27 years of real world experience in national security and the economy, experience that is desperately needed in Washington now more than ever. None of that has changed based on yet another career politician entering this race.”

Rubio has already received the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The organization swiftly issued a statement saying Rubio will have its full support.

“Marco Rubio is a valued leader for Florida and for our country, and I welcome his decision to ask voters for the opportunity to serve once again,” said Sen. Roger F. Wicker, the chair of the NRSC. “Senator Rubio has made a lasting impact when it comes to standing up against the failed Obama agenda and has articulated a clear vision for making our country safer and more prosperous. His campaign will have the full support of the NRSC.”

The decision to run for re-election means Rubio will have to spend the next few weeks campaigning across the state.

The Republican primary is Aug. 30, but vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to military and overseas voters on July 16. Elections officials will begin sending vote-by-mail ballots to domestic voters beginning July 26.

While Rubio may be the most well-known candidate in the race, he could face some challenges. According to the Quinnipiac University poll released this week, 45 percent of Floridians said they approve of the job he is doing in the U.S. Senate; while 44 percent said they disapproved.

Rubio said he made the decision after discussing it with his wife and their four children while in West Miami for Father’s Day.

“There was one path that was more personally comfortable and probably smarter politically. But after much thought and prayer, together we chose to continue with public service; to continue down the path that provides the opportunity to make a positive difference at this critical and uncertain time for our nation,” he said. “In the end, there was simply too much at stake for any other choice.”

__

Reporter Scott Powers contributed to this report.

Why Im Running - Marco Rubio for US Senate EDIT

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In new ad, Carlos Beruff says ‘we are all simply Americans’

Carlos Beruff is out with a new campaign advertisement, calling on Floridians to reject what he calls a hyphenated county.

The release of the 30-second spot, called “Simply American,” comes as Marco Rubio prepares to announce whether he will run for re-election.

In his new ad, an announcer is heard saying: “Ever get tired of all these hyphens? Separating American with all these divisions. America is strongest when we are united.”

“We all owe America; it’s not the other way around. Some call me a Cuban-hyphen-American. I reject that. I don’t believe in hyphenated Americans,” Beruff is then heard saying. “We are all simply Americans. Let’s put America first. I’m Carlos Beruff. I approve this message, with no hyphen.”

Beruff is one of five Republicans currently running for the U.S. Senate. But political insiders widely expect to see a shift in the race in the coming days, as Rubio decides whether to run again.

Rep. David Jolly is set to hold a news conference this afternoon to announce his plans. Many expect him to drop out of the U.S. Senate race and run for re-election against Democrat Charlie Crist.

Rubio’s longtime friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has already said he would bow out if Rubio gets in. He even told supporters this week he encouraged Rubio to reconsider. Rep. Ron DeSantis may also be forced to consider his options if Rubio enters.

Rubio is expected to talk with his family over the weekend about whether he should run for re-election.

Beruff has said he would stay in the race even if Rubio gets in. So has Republican Todd Wilcox.

The qualifying deadline is noon on June 24.

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Carlos Lopez-Cantera won’t file to run for Senate if Marco Rubio decides to run again

Carlos Lopez-Cantera will not file to run for U.S. Senate if Marco Rubio decides to run for re-election.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera said he will get out of the race if Rubio, his longtime friend, were to decide to run for re-election.

“I have asked Sen. Marco Rubio to reconsider his decision and enter the Senate race. The decision is his and his alone to make,” said Lopez-Cantera in his email. “As friends for 20 years, this race is so much bigger than the two of us, and, as you have heard me say on the trail, this race isn’t about an individual, this race is about Florida and the future of our country.”

On Wednesday, Marc Caputo with POLITICO Florida first reported Lopez-Cantera encouraged Rubio to reconsider his decision.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this week, Rubio appeared to crack the door open to the possibility of another run. He said the mass shooting in Orlando, which left 49 people dead and more than 50 people injured, gives him “pause to think a little bit about … your service to our country and then where you can be most useful to your country.”

Rubio has also pointed to Lopez-Cantera and his decision to run as a reason for why he wasn’t considering jumping back into the race.

In his message to supporters Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera said he is “still in this race and nothing has changed.”

“However,” he continued, “if Marco decides to enter this race, I will not be filing the paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate.”

According to the Washington Post, Rubio told reporters he was rethinking his decision.

Rubio has until noon on June 24 to qualify for the U.S. Senate race.

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