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Mike Murphy says there’s a ‘cynicism’ behind Marco Rubio campaign that will catch up with him

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Mike Murphy says there is a “cynicism” behind the Marco Rubio campaign that he says will ultimately doom the Florida senator’s presidential candidacy.

“It’s cynical to run as the creature of new, fresh, while it’s all secret dark money, ” Murphy tells reporter Sasha Issenberg in the second part of a lengthy interview in Bloomberg Politics posted on Wednesday.

Murphy, who heads Jeb Bush‘s super PAC Right to Rise, is referring to the fact that the ads that aired this summer calling on viewers to contact their senator to support Rubio were paid for by the Conservative Solutions Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that is not required to disclose its donors. Hence, the term “dark money.”

“It’s cynical to say, ‘I’m going to take the lead on defeating this horrible Iran deal that we all hate,’ and broadcast your ads to defeat that deal only on the Fox Network, where everybody is already against the deal, instead of running those ads on MSNBC to pressure Democratic senators that were the outcome to beating that deal,” Murphy said. “Cynically use it just to raise your name ID among Republican primary voters who already agree with you on the deal. There is a cynicism behind the young, fresh brand that I think is going to catch up with him.”

Conservative Solutions Project was established in 2014 with the express intent of supporting Rubio. Unlike a super PAC, it is not required by law to disclose its donors. This type of nonprofit proliferated after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision opened the door to unlimited independent spending by corporations and unions.

Murphy takes a few other shots at Rubio in the interview, but also rips into the political press, whom he says has allowed Rubio to get away with running such ads and failed to question his record. He also says the media hold Bush to much greater scrutiny than they do the former Florida Speaker of the House, who he says is getting the same coddling treatment that Barack Obama received in 2008.

“I don’t think the media understand, it’s $6 million, nobody’s done that with (c)(4) money. We think (c)(4)s are totally appropriate. We have one. We’re proud of it. But it’s basically been focused on policy research and things like that, not on television ads that are thinly disguised campaign ads. Rubio’s entire spend has been that so far, $6 million all secret donors. It kind of stuns me that he’s gotten away with that in the media.”

Although Bush is struggling in the polls (where he often placed third or fourth, trading back and forth with Rubio depending on the poll), some political observers refuse to write him off yet, mainly because of the huge dollars that Right to Rise was able to raise during the first part of 2015.

Murphy says that Right to Rise has aired two television ads comparing Bush to other candidates in the race, and says that “there are probably 20 in our production pipeline that have been already tested and are being tweaked and everything,” adding that “so it’s kind of like being an air traffic controller; you can see all the planes lined up that are going to land and I like our sequence a lot.”

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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