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Patrick Murphy blasts Marco Rubio for using Orlando tragedy as reason to re-enter Senate race

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Jupiter Congressman and Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy savaged Marco Rubio at a news conference in Hollywood on Saturday, describing the fact that Rubio may use the shooting massacre in Orlando last weekend as the pretext for deciding to run for re-election to the Senate seat to which Murphy is aspiring.

“I cannot tell you how many phone calls I have received in the last 48 hours about how appalled people are. especially my friends — our friends — in the LGBT community, many which are actually Republican, calling me saying this is atrocious, this is despicable, that a Senator who is one of the most homophobic senators in this country, someone who voted to keep this terrorist loophole open, who has a 100 percent voting record with the NRA, and now all of a sudden is going to use this horrific mass shooting, this act of terrorism, this hate crime to decide to run for the U.S. Senate?”

Rubio said last week that he would use this weekend to discuss with his family his political future, including the possibility of running again for his U.S. Senate seat, a seat Rubio said he would not run for when he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in April 2015.

Rubio told conservative radio host Huge Hewitt last Monday that he was “deeply impacted” by the shooting massacre in Orlando that left 49 dead and more than 50 injured at the Pulse gay nightclub.

“I haven’t even given a thought in that perspective other than to say that I’ve been deeply impacted by it, and I think when it visits your home state, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country.”

Democrats and some opinion columnists have lambasted Rubio for saying that it would be the Orlando tragedy that finally brings him back into running for Senate, saying that the path to running for the seat that he first won in 2010 was carefully orchestrated.

“He’s now using this tragedy … as an excuse, an epiphany to run for the Senate,” Murphy added.

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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