U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a newly announced candidate for the U.S. Senate, says nothing has changed since U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio officially entered the race for president in 2016.
The Jupiter Democrat, who recently entered the race for the Miami Republican’s soon-to-be vacated Senate seat, weighed in with a statement on Monday. Florida law prohibits candidates from seeking two offices simultaneously on the same ballot, so Rubio cannot both run for re-election to the Senate and for the White House next year.
“This announcement doesn’t change the core principles of my campaign,” Murphy said. “Floridians need a strong leader in the Senate. That means our next U.S. senator must take a stand against every attempt to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, fight to provide opportunities for middle-class Floridians, protect our Everglades, and ensure that every American has equal rights under the law.
“These are things we’ve seen lacking under Sen. Rubio’s time in office,” he added. “I’m committed to ending the gridlock that is holding our nation back by working together to get things done for Florida and this country.”
Now that Rubio is out of the Senate race – and popular Republican state CFO Jeff Atwater announcing he will not run – Murphy’s chances of success improve considerably. However, Murphy could still face a primary challenge from U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a well-regarded Orlando liberal who also has access to a large statewide fundraising base.