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Mitch Perry Report for 8.8.16 – Will Marco Rubio’s stance on abortion be fodder in U.S. Senate race?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

When he was running for president, Marco Rubio‘s stance on abortion was an issue noted not just by Democrats as being too extreme, but some Republicans as well. Rubio is opposed to abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother.

“I’m pro-life. The most tragic thing in the world is for a woman to be raped, a child, a pregnancy caused by rape. I’m very pro-life, (but) I can’t go there, I can’t tell that woman you gotta carry that child,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. “I’m very pro-life, that’s a sensitive issue, but I think in a general election that will be a hard sell.”

“Politically, it’s a tough sell to tell a pro-life mother — had her daughter been raped — that she would just have to accept that as a sad fact,” said Jeb Bush. “This is not an easy decision, but Marco will have to explain that position.”

On Saturday, Rubio’s stance again became a story when he said in Miami that he doesn’t believe a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus should have the right to an abortion — even if she had reason to believe the child would be born with severe microcephaly.

“I understand a lot of people disagree with my view – but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws,” the senator and former 2016 hopeful said in an interview with POLITICO. “And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one. But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life.”

“This is shocking,” responded South Florida Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy in a statement to supporters on Sunday. “Zika is most dangerous for women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, yet Marco Rubio still opposes a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.”

Murphy is likely to advance later this month in the race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. If it becomes a Murphy-Rubio matchup, look for abortion rights to be an issue that Murphy will press on. Whether the race should focus on a specific issue like that, the politics work for Murphy, considering he can use the quotes of Republicans like Bush and Graham in ads to indicate that Rubio is out of the mainstream of Florida voters on this issue.

In other news…

Hillary Clinton returns to the Tampa Bay area this afternoon, giving a speech on the economy at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. Her visit comes just two-and-a-half weeks after she spoke in Tampa, hours before she named Tim Kaine to be her running mate.

The three Democrats vying to succeed Ed Narain as the Representative in Florida’s House District 61 seat debated on Friday at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club.

And apologies to those who received an unusual email from me on Friday afternoon – I opened an an attachment in my own email account, which not only closed out my gmail account for two days (I finally got back online yesterday afternoon), but sent this email with a deadly virus to everyone in my inbox. The internet is a dangerous place, sometimes.

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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