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New poll shows Marco Rubio & Jeff Atwater leading Dems in 2016 Florida Senate race

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Marco Rubio looks to be in good shape for his re-election chances for the Senate next year, at least against South Florida Democratic U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

A Mason-Dixon poll released Tuesday shows Rubio with double-digit leads over both Democrats. Against Murphy, he’s up 50-38 percent. Against Wasserman Schultz, it’s 53-36 percent.

But if his presidential aspirations take off, Rubio may very well not run for re-election. If that’s the case, Mason Dixon shows that one possible Republican nominee, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, also leading both Democrats. Against Murphy, Atwater is up 46-32 percent. Against Wasserman Schultz, the numbers are closer, but Atwater still leads, 45-35 percent.

Atwater has been prominently mentioned as a potential GOP nominee, as he was recently observed in Washington speaking to officials with the National Republican Senate Committee.

But Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi would defeat Atwater in a GOP primary, according to a Gravis Marketing Poll published last week.

Other Florida Republicans bandied about as possible Senate candidates include Adam Putnam and Will Weatherford.

Other Democrats in the mix include Alan Grayson and Kathy Castor.

The poll was taken of 800 registered Florida voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. The margin for error is no more than ±3.5 percentage points.

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

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