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Hillary Clinton (finally) endorses Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate

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Hillary Clinton’s endorsement of Patrick Murphy in his U.S. Senate contest in Florida against Marco Rubio shouldn’t qualify as news … except when it comes just two hours after a published report asked why it hadn’t come yet, less than nine weeks before Election Day.

“I am proud to endorse Patrick Murphy to be Florida’s next U.S. senator,” said Clinton. “Patrick is a problem solver who will work hard for the people of Florida.”

The statement was issued by the Clinton camp two hours after the Miami Herald’s Kristen M. Clark reported on the fact that while nearly every other Democrat has come out in support of the Jupiter representative (including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid), Clinton had been curiously quiet regarding the 33-year-old Murphy’s campaign.

Clark noted that in Clinton’s last two appearances in Florida — Tuesday at the University of South Florida campus in Tampa and a month ago at St. Petersburg’s Coliseum — Murphy’s name was missing from a list of public officials who the former secretary of state gave a shout-out to.

In fairness to Clinton, most of the people she mentioned were Tampa Bay area officials who have significant name recognition in the region — for example, Clinton spoke for several moments about outgoing Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner on Tuesday. In St. Pete, she mentioned congressional candidate Charlie Crist.

Murphy was effusive in his appreciation for the backing.

“Secretary Clinton is one of the most qualified candidates we have ever run for president and I’m so proud to have her endorsement,” Murphy said. “Throughout her career, Hillary has fought to break down barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and create opportunities for all Americans to succeed. Together, we will stand up for women’s health care, fight for our environment, and always put our middle class families first. I look forward to showing up and working hard for Florida, alongside out country’s next president, Hillary Clinton.”

The Rubio camp wasn’t impressed.

“The only reason Clinton did not endorse Murphy sooner is because he is such an obviously flawed candidate and ineffective congressman that he has to lie about his resume,” said Rubio spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas. “Not only does Murphy fully support Clinton’s liberal agenda, but he thinks she is honest and trustworthy!”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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