Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Senate’

Philip Levine invited to testify in Senate hearing

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has been invited to testify at a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
In a letter dated Feb. 24, committee chair and South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune invited Levine to testify in the hearing, titled “Connecting America: Improving Access to Infrastructure for Communities Across the Country.”
Thune said the hearing would focus on the infrastructure needs of communities across the country, and that the committee is looking for testimony “on the policies required to help move people, goods and information safely and efficiently.”
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday.
During his tenure as mayor, Levine has overseen the rollout of a free trolley service for Alton Road and West Avenue residents affected by road construction, and is exploring constructing a light rail that would connect Miami Beach to the mainland.
Levine, a Democrat, is eyeing a run for governor in 2018. Though he has not yet made an official announcement he did launch a new political committee and also hired U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s former campaign manager.
If he were to enter the fray, he would likely have to square off against former congresswoman Gwen Graham, attorney John Morgan and, possibly, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary.
 
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Marco Rubio wimps out on town halls. Are we surprised?

Monday, February 27th, 2017

As we saw during the last campaign, Marco Rubio can be awfully good at not showing up. His latest no-show has nothing to do with his attendance in the U.S. Senate, though. Now, he doesn’t want to show up at town hall meetings because people might be rude.
“They’re not town halls anymore, and I wish they were because I enjoy that process very much, going back to my time as speaker of the house. I hosted over a hundred idea (meetings) around the state,” he said in an interview with CBS4 in Miami.
“But the problem now is – and it’s all in writing, I’m not making this up – what they want is for me to organize a public forum. They then organize three, four, five, six hundred liberal activists in the two counties or wherever I am in the state.”
No, he isn’t making it up.
He is, however, wimping out.
Are we surprised?
Yes, those forums do offer those pesky Florida liberals a rare opportunity to remind Republicans that a whole lot of people want their representatives to protect health care coverage.
This is not some political talking point, either. For these folks, it’s emotional and personal, so they do heckle, they shout, they boo and they are loud. That bothers Florida’s very junior U.S. senator – although it didn’t bother him in 2010 when he was swept in by the tea party wave that wrote the book on heckling, shouting, booing and doing that at high volume.
As a first-time senate candidate, it was OK to be supported by disruptors. Those rallies took place around the country, organized at the grassroots level through websites like the Tea Party Patriots. The plan was to put the “riot” in patriot.
It worked. Rubio was elected.
Facing angry constituents didn’t stop U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis from showing up

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Bill Nelson blasts Tom Price’s Medicare record

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Saying that U.S. Rep. Tom Price‘s views on Medicare vouchers and eligibility would be bad for senior citizens, Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson vowed Thursday to vote against affirming his nomination to be Donald Trump‘s secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Nelson charged that Price’s support for a Medicare voucher system would lead to increased out-of-pocket costs for seniors’ medical bills and his support to raise the eligibility age to 67 would break promises to people paying into the system.
Price is a Republican from Georgia. Nelson declared his intention to vote against Price during a Senate floor speech Thursday afternoon.
“Our country deserves an HHS secretary who will uphold those promises, not inflict deep cuts that alter the financial security Medicare provides Americans in their later years,” Nelson stated in his speech. “And so for these reasons and others, sometime in this next 11 and a half hours when we vote, I’m going to vote no on this nominee. There’s too much at stake for our seniors to give this nominee the control over these programs.”
Nelson is picking his battles. In addition to opposing Price, Nelson has voted against Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, Mike Pompeo for CIA director, and Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Nelson has voted yes to affirm James Mattis for defense secretary, John Kelly for homeland security secretary, Nikki Haley for U.N ambassador, and Elaine Chao for transportation secretary. He also voted yes for Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary in a committee vote, though Ross has not yet come up for a full U.S. Senate vote.

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Report: Randolph Bracy considering 2018 U.S. Senate bid

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Sen. Randolph Bracy could be eyeing higher office.
The Florida Times-Union reported Thursday that Bracy is considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2018. If he decides to jump into the race, Bracy would face sitting U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in a Democratic primary.
“I’m considering it; I’ll leave it there,” he told the paper.
First elected to the Florida House in 2012, Bracy won his Senate District 11 seat in November. The 39-year-old serves as the chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee and vice chairman of the Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.
Nelson is the only Democrat in Florida elected to statewide office, and is widely expected to run for re-election in 2018. When asked about Bracy’s possible run by the Times-Union, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party indicated Nelson would have the establishment’s backing.
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Bill Nelson to help lead new Senate panel on cybersecurity

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has created a new standing subcommittee on cybersecurity and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will be the ranking Democrat to help lead it.
Little else is determined at this point. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chair of the Armed Service Committee, announced the panel’s creation Wednesday afternoon and appointed U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, as chairman. Nelson, Florida’s Democratic senator, was appointed as ranking member.
The rest of the committee will be filled out and its purposes and schedule set as Rounds and Nelson work that out.
Nelson, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted, in a news release, that the new subcommittee is being formed in the wake of Russia’s alleged cyber interference in the 2016 presidential campaigns.
In addition to ensuring the proper policies, strategies and resources are in place to defend the country in cyberspace, the new subcommittee will hold the administration accountable if they fail to adequately respond to a future attack,” Nelson stated.
“You can’t just sit on your hands and do nothing,” Nelson said. “If we’re going to deter our enemies from attacking us, we have to make it painfully obvious that the consequences are going to be so severe that they won’t want to do it in the first place.”
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Senate passes NASA bill too late, but offers statement of Congress priorities

Monday, December 12th, 2016

When the U.S. Senate passed a quadrennial NASA Authorization bill Saturday it was too late for it ever to get adopted, since the House of Representatives already had adjourned for the session, but the bipartisan bill with bi-cameral input was intended as a message to the Donald Trump White House about Congress’s priorities for NASA.
The bill made it clear that Congress – at least those who made up the legislature for the now-ended 114th Congress – wants continuity over the next few years for key space agency programs, notably those aimed at getting humans into deep space. That means continued progress on developing the Space Launch System deep-space rocket, the Orion deep-space astronaut capsule, and several other deep-space projects, including a satellite visit to the Jovian moon Europa.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the NASA Transition Authorization Act, Senate Bill 3346, on Saturday, which would have authorized $19.6 billion for NASA in 2017. The bill had been sponsored by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who chairs  Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Florida’s U.S. senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, were among eight co-sponsors.
“I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in introducing this bill, and look forward to advancing our nation’s space program in the next Congress,” Rubio stated afterwards.
With this bill, he and the 114th Congress left a priorities list for the 115th and for Trump, who has not spelled out much of his space policy yet.
Among them:
* Continued progress in developing the SLS rocket and Orion, keeping NASA shooting for an unmanned launch of the pair in late 2018, and a crewed launch to go around the moon in 2021. In addition, the bill pushes for a “heavy lift” version of the SLS rocket, which would use addition rocket boosters, essentially from the space shuttle program, to

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Rick Scott considering bid for US Senate in 2018

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who challenged the Republican establishment six years ago and stormed his way into the governor’s mansion, now says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate.
During a wide-range interview with reporters on Tuesday, Scott conceded that “an option I have” is to run for the seat held by Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018. Nelson, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, has already said he plans to run for a fourth term.
Scott, who has already said he’s not interested in a potential job in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, didn’t lay out any kind of time table for a decision and instead said that he would continue to focus on his current post.
Scott said that in business he figured out that “if I do well every day in my job there would be a next opportunity.”
Scott was re-elected in 2014, but is limited by law from seeking another term.
Scott spoke of his intentions while attending the Republican Governors Association annual conference in Orlando where he said he was “excited” about Trump’s victory because he now had someone he could call on for help. Scott said that he had already talked to Trump three times since the election.
“I now have a president I can talk to,” said Scott, who repeatedly criticized the administration of President Barack Obama on a myriad of issues.
Scott’s bid for future office could be helped out by Trump, who Scott called a friend and said he’s someone he has known for 20 years. Scott endorsed Trump right after he won the Florida primary and stood by even as Trump came under fire for some of his comments during the campaign. He also was a chairman of a super PAC that raised $20 million that was used on ads in battleground states that

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New Florida poll shows Marco Rubio at 50%, Patrick Murphy at 43%

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio has a big lead over Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Rubio leads Murphy, 50 percent to 43 percent. The poll found 7 percent of respondents said they were either voting for someone else or didn’t know.
The latest poll of 884 likely Florida voters was conducted from Nov. 3 through Nov. 6. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.
Rubio has the backing of 93 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independent voters and 8 percent of Democrats. The survey found 48 percent of respondents who said they already voted backed Rubio, compared to 46 percent who said they voted for Murphy.
Murphy has the backing of 88 percent of Democrats, 39 percent of independents, and 3 percent of Republicans.
The Miami Republican has led in nearly every poll since he announced he was running for re-election in June. Three polls conducted since June 25 showed the two men tied, according to RealClearPolitics. Rubio led in all of the other polls used by RealClearPolitics to calculate the polling average.
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Marco Rubio makes closing argument in new TV ad

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio is making his closing arguments in his final TV spot.
According to the Rubio campaign, 30-second spot, called “Debt,” is meant to discuss each generation’s “debt and duty to the next.
“America is the greatest country in the world, and keeping it that way is every generation’s debt to the next,” he says in the advertisement. “Today, our country is more divided than ever and our challenges are growing more grave, threatening who we are and everything we hope to be.”
He goes on to say the upcoming election “is about the future, and about keeping America the one place in the world where any dream can still come true.”
Rubio faces Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election. The Miami Republican has led in almost every poll since announcing his re-election bid. According to RealClearPolitics, he has an average 3.2 percentage point lead over Murphy.
Rubio is hitting the trail this weekend to rally support in the final weekend of early voting. He is expected to attend three get out the vote events Saturday, starting the day with a rally at the Sandshaker Lounge in Gulf Breeze. From there, he’ll attend a rally at RV Connections at Panama City, before wrapping up his North Florida swing at the Republican Party of Florida’s Jacksonville Beach Victory Office.
More than 5.7 million Floridians have already voted, according to the state Division of Elections. State records show nearly 2.3 million Democrats and nearly 2.3 million Republicans have voted by mail or in person during the early voting period. Democrats have edged out Republicans on early vote totals by a margin of more than 7,000 votes.

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Marco Rubio makes closing argument in new TV ad

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio is making his closing arguments in his final TV spot.
According to the Rubio campaign, 30-second spot, called “Debt,” is meant to discuss each generation’s “debt and duty to the next.
“America is the greatest country in the world, and keeping it that way is every generation’s debt to the next,” he says in the advertisement. “Today, our country is more divided than ever and our challenges are growing more grave, threatening who we are and everything we hope to be.”
He goes on to say the upcoming election “is about the future, and about keeping America the one place in the world where any dream can still come true.”
Rubio faces Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election. The Miami Republican has led in almost every poll since announcing his re-election bid. According to RealClearPolitics, he has an average 3.2 percentage point lead over Murphy.
Rubio is hitting the trail this weekend to rally support in the final weekend of early voting. He is expected to attend three get out the vote events Saturday, starting the day with a rally at the Sandshaker Lounge in Gulf Breeze. From there, he’ll attend a rally at RV Connections at Panama City, before wrapping up his North Florida swing at the Republican Party of Florida’s Jacksonville Beach Victory Office.
More than 5.7 million Floridians have already voted, according to the state Division of Elections. State records show nearly 2.3 million Democrats and nearly 2.3 million Republicans have voted by mail or in person during the early voting period. Democrats have edged out Republicans on early vote totals by a margin of more than 7,000 votes.

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Report: FBI investigating donor scheme tied to Patrick Murphy

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

The FBI is investigating an alleged illegal donation scheme involving Rep. Patrick Murphy, according to a new report.
The Hill reported Tuesday that FBI is investigating a scheme involving a wealthy Saudi family that supports Murphy. According to the report, the Hill found no evidence Murphy was involved in the alleged scheme, and the campaign declined to say whether he was aware of the probe.
“This complaint was written by a Republican super PAC willing to say anything to elect Marco Rubio,” said Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp told The Hill. “Neither Patrick nor any current or past employees have ever been contacted regarding this matter, and we are confident an examination of the facts will result in its dismissal.”
According to The Hill, the investigation goes back to Murphy’s first congressional run in 2012. The claim, originally made by the Senate Leadership Fund, is that Ibrahim Al-Rashid, a friend of Murphy’s and political donor, coordinated a straw donor scheme to help Murphy.
The super PAC filed a complaint in June with the Federal Election Commission. According to The Hill, the complaint alleged 11 donors participated in a scheme to funnel contributions to Murphy.
Murphy is running against Sen. Marco Rubio in the state’s contentious U.S. Senate race. Rubio currently has an average 5.6 percentage point lead over Murphy, according to RealClearPolitics.
 
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Marco Rubio, Patrick Murphy spar over policy, fall back on old attacks

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy tried to to focus largely on policy during a televised debate Wednesday, but neither man could escape from attacks that have dogged them for months.
Rubio was blasted for his attendance record, one of the worst in the Senate, while Murphy was criticized his limited record congressional accomplishments. And while neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump were anywhere near the Broward College stage, both presidential hopefuls loomed large over the debate.
The debate — hosted by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association — was the second, and likely final, time the two men shared a stage this election cycle. And it comes as Rubio continues to lead in the polls.
RealClearPolitics, a polling aggregation website, has Rubio ahead by an average of 3.6 percentage points, while Bloomberg Politics poll released earlier Wednesday showed the Miami Republican leading by 10 points.
“Here’s the choice in this election, because elections are at their best when they’re about clear choices, and this election is a clear choice,” said Rubio. “I have real, concrete achievements I can point to, things I’ve been able to do for the state of Florida. He’s been there for four years, and no one’s even noticed. This is a clear … difference.”
More than 2 million ballots have already been cast ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, and millions more people are expected to vote during the early voting period.
“Florida deserves a senator that’s going to show up to work, somebody who is going to roll up their sleeves and get things done for Florida,” said Murphy. “There’s way too much at stake to have a missing senator. We have to do more.”
Both men tried to use the debate to draw clear differences from their opponent on a variety of issues, including Cuba and the Supreme

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Florida Chamber poll shows Marco Rubio with big lead over Patrick Murphy

Monday, October 24th, 2016

The race between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy is anything but close, at least according to a new Florida Chamber poll.
The survey shows Rubio holds a big lead over Murphy, 51 percent to 37 percent. Eleven percent of respondents either said they didn’t know who they were supporting or refused to say.
The Chamber of Commerce poll was conducted from Oct. 16 through Oct. 19 by Cherry Communications. The poll of 507 of likely and newly registered voters has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
According to a polling memo, Rubio leads Murphy 52 percent to 46 percent among Hispanic voters, and 60 percent to 33 percent among white voters. He also holds significant leads when it comes to men (56% to 36%) and women (52% to 42%).
A quarter of respondents (25%) said they had never heard of Murphy, a significant hurdle with just two weeks to go before Election Day. The poll found 27 percent respondents had a favorable opinion of Murphy, while 30 percent said they had an unfavorable view.
Rubio is much better known, with just 2 percent of respondents saying they never heard of him. The poll found 48 percent of Floridians said they had a favorable view of Murphy, while 30 percent said they had an unfavorable view.
The results of the Chamber poll paint a significant different picture than other recent polls, which show just a few points separated the two men.
A Public Policy Polling survey conducted on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 showed Rubio leading 48 percent to 43 percent; while a Quinnipiac University poll conducted from Oct. 10 through Oct. 16 showed Rubio with 49 percent, compared to Murphy’s 47 percent. And according to RealClearPolitics, Rubio has an average 3.4 percentage point lead over Murphy.
The Division of Elections reported nearly 1.2 million voters

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Associated Builders and Contractors announce seven-figure ad buy in Florida, 5 other states

Friday, October 21st, 2016

One national organization is building up Marco Rubio in Florida.
Associated Builders and Contractors announced this week it made a seven-figure ad buy in Florida and five other states.
The issue-based ad buy is meant to highlight candidates’ positions on key issues for the construction trade organization. The organization is expected to air the spot on radio and as part of a statewide digital ad campaign.
The national organization endorsed Rubio in June, saying Rubio has “shown the commitment to free enterprise that Associated Builders and Contractors members know will best grow our economy.”
Associated Builders and Contractors unveiled one of its ads for Rubio on its campaign’s website, ModernStatesmen.com. In the 30-second spot, a narrator says Rubio has taken “important votes for our country.”
“Rubio voted to repeal Obamacare. Rubio supports workers’ rights,” the narrator says in the advertisement. “Rubio is a defender of free enterprise with a 100 percent voting record with Associated Builders and Contractors.”
Rep. Patrick Murphy, according to the organization, has a 23 percent career voting record.
According to RealClearPolitics, Rubio is averaging a 4.8 percent lead over Murphy.
ABC is also planning to run issue based ads in Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
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New poll shows Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy running neck-and-neck in U.S. Senate race

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Florida’s U.S. Senate race is coming down to the wire.
A new Quinnipiac University poll showed a dead heat between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy. According to the poll, 49 percent of Floridians said they were backing Rubio, compared to 47 percent who picked Murphy.
The poll of 660 likely Florida voters was conducted from Oct. 10 through Oct. 16. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.
The newest poll shows Murphy is gaining ground on Rubio. In a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month, Rubio was leading Murphy, 48 percent to 44 percent. A similar poll in September showed Rubio up by 7 points, 50 percent to 43 percent.
Independent voters will likely be key in the U.S. Senate race. Independent voters’ support is split between Murphy and Rubio. The poll found 47 percent of respondents back Murphy, compared to 46 percent who said they were backing Rubio. Seven percent of independent voters said they didn’t know who they were voting for.
Rubio has support from 88 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of men and 56 percent of white voters. Murphy is backed by 86 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of women and 63 percent of non-white voters. One-third of non-white voters back Rubio.
The findings were released just one day after Rubio and Murphy squared off for their first debate of the election cycle. The two men used the hour-long debate to sound off on their positions about abortion rights, climate change, and gun control.
And both men tried to tie the other to his party’s presidential nominee.
Murphy has trailed in the polls since jumping in the race, but the newest Quinnipiac University poll shows the slimmest margin since August. The firm in August had Rubio leading Murphy, 48 percent to 45 percent. At the time, 7 percent of respondents

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Joe Henderson: ‘Checkmate’ in the Marco Rubio-Patrick Murphy debate

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

In the game of chess, it is called “checkmate.”
It is that moment when a player realizes their opponent just cut off their last route of escape.
I think that’s the gambit Marco Rubio sprung on Democrat Patrick Murphy during their U.S. Senate debate Monday night.
One of the best lines of attack for Murphy was that Rubio hadn’t committed to serving the full six-year term that goes with being a senator. The implication was this young man in a hurry was at it again, using the Senate as just a parking spot until he could accomplish his real ambition — winning the presidency.
It was a strong argument, especially given Rubio’s shoddy attendance record during his first term in office.
But then Rubio broke the news in the faceoff with the following statement: “I am going to serve in the Senate for the next six years.”
Say what? Does this mean you’re not going to run for president in the next election, Rubio was asked?
“I am going to be a senator for the next six years on behalf of the state of Florida.”
Whether he actually keeps that vow is fodder for future debates and campaigns. After all, he also promised repeatedly he wasn’t going to run for re-election to the Senate, and here we are.
That apparently hasn’t bothered voters, though. Rubio has a lead in the polls hovering around seven points, and with early voting already underway, Rubio could be difficult to catch in the final three weeks before the election. That’s why Murphy needed a decisive, headline-grabbing debate to swing attention back on his side.
He didn’t get it, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Murphy punched hard from the outset, quickly trying to link Rubio with Donald Trump. Murphy pointed out that Trump had essentially humiliated Rubio during the campaign, raising the question of

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Who won in Marco Rubio-Patrick Murphy debate? Florida voters

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio needed a chance to show he’s done something despite missing so much time at work, and he did so; Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy needed a chance to show he’s more than just a rich, pretty face running for the Senate, and he did so.
And Florida voters needed a chance to hear about more than just Rubio’s commitment to Donald Trump or Murphy’s trust in Hillary Clinton, and they did so.
Monday night’s first U.S. Senate debate at the University of Central Florida, produced by Orlando TV station WFTV Channel 9 and broadcast statewide, made news as Rubio promised that – God willing – he intends to serve his six years in the Senate. And it raised eyebrows as Rubio essentially trashed Trump and Clinton as both bad, but said he’s sticking with Trump, while Murphy ignored Rubio’s characterization of Clinton as untrustworthy said he trusted her, as the two spent nearly 15 minutes talking about whose presidential candidate was worse.
But in the other 45 minutes the rivals drew clear distinctions on where they stand on abortion, gun control, the Iran treaty, immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, the Everglades, global warming, and Cuba. The only thing they agreed on was both expressed confidence that the election would be fair, voting would be sound and trustworthy, and the results would be accepted.
“There was a much more in-depth discussion of policy than we’ve seen in any of these debates,” said University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus. “When it came to legislation and what was going on during their time in legislative positions, they really gave much more depth to it.”
And while Murphy tried hard and repeatedly to tie Rubio to Trump [perhaps his best prospect for knocking the senator back from his lead in the polls,]

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Mother of Pulse victim criticizes Marco Rubio in new Patrick Murphy ad

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The mother of one of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims is sounding off in a new advertisement for Rep. Patrick Murphy.
The Murphy campaign released a new TV spot Monday, ahead of the first U.S. Senate debate between Murphy and Sen. Marco Rubio. The 30-second spot features Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher Leinonen, was killed in the June attack on the Orlando nightclub.
In the ad, Leinonen criticizes Rubio for not taking action following the shooting.
“He was shot nine times. He didn’t have a chance, and he’s just one of over a hundred people who were shot. He was half my heart. I’ve lost half of who I am,” she says about her son in the ad. “I cannot understand how Marco Rubio would go back to Washington, D.C., and do nothing. I don’t think Patrick Murphy is afraid to take on the toughest problems, including gun violence, in this country.”
This isn’t the first time Leinonen has spoken out about the need for gun reform. She spoke during the Democratic National Convention, calling for commonsense gun policies.
She was among those members of the Pride Fund who threw their support behind Murphy. At the time, she said Murphy will “fight for the gun violence prevention measures that will help keep our families safe.”
A gunman killed 49 people and injured dozens more when he stormed a gay nightclub in Orlando in June.
Murphy faces Rubio in the Nov. 8 general election. In a statement Monday, Murphy said Rubio “never found the courage to stand” with Leinonen.
“Marco Rubio went back to Washington and stood with the gun lobby to oppose commonsense measures that would help keep Florida families safe. Marco Rubio puts the gun lobby before Floridians every time,” said Murphy in a statement. “I’m fighting for Christine, for those we lost at Pulse, and for Florida

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Mother of Pulse victim criticizes Marco Rubio in new Patrick Murphy ad

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The mother of one of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims is sounding off in a new advertisement for Rep. Patrick Murphy.
The Murphy campaign released a new TV spot Monday, ahead of the first U.S. Senate debate between Murphy and Sen. Marco Rubio. The 30-second spot features Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher Leinonen, was killed in the June attack on the Orlando nightclub.
In the ad, Leinonen criticizes Rubio for not taking action following the shooting.
“He was shot nine times. He didn’t have a chance, and he’s just one of over a hundred people who were shot. He was half my heart. I’ve lost half of who I am,” she says about her son in the ad. “I cannot understand how Marco Rubio would go back to Washington, D.C., and do nothing. I don’t think Patrick Murphy is afraid to take on the toughest problems, including gun violence, in this country.”
This isn’t the first time Leinonen has spoken out about the need for gun reform. She spoke during the Democratic National Convention, calling for commonsense gun policies.
She was among those members of the Pride Fund who threw their support behind Murphy. At the time, she said Murphy will “fight for the gun violence prevention measures that will help keep our families safe.”
A gunman killed 49 people and injured dozens more when he stormed a gay nightclub in Orlando in June.
Murphy faces Rubio in the Nov. 8 general election. In a statement Monday, Murphy said Rubio “never found the courage to stand” with Leinonen.
“Marco Rubio went back to Washington and stood with the gun lobby to oppose commonsense measures that would help keep Florida families safe. Marco Rubio puts the gun lobby before Floridians every time,” said Murphy in a statement. “I’m fighting for Christine, for those we lost at Pulse, and for Florida

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Mother of Pulse victim criticizes Marco Rubio in new Patrick Murphy ad

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The mother of one of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims is sounding off in a new advertisement for Rep. Patrick Murphy.
The Murphy campaign released a new TV spot Monday, ahead of the first U.S. Senate debate between Murphy and Sen. Marco Rubio. The 30-second spot features Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher Leinonen, was killed in the June attack on the Orlando nightclub.
In the ad, Leinonen criticizes Rubio for not taking action following the shooting.
“He was shot nine times. He didn’t have a chance, and he’s just one of over a hundred people who were shot. He was half my heart. I’ve lost half of who I am,” she says about her son in the ad. “I cannot understand how Marco Rubio would go back to Washington, D.C., and do nothing. I don’t think Patrick Murphy is afraid to take on the toughest problems, including gun violence, in this country.”
This isn’t the first time Leinonen has spoken out about the need for gun reform. She spoke during the Democratic National Convention, calling for commonsense gun policies.
She was among those members of the Pride Fund who threw their support behind Murphy. At the time, she said Murphy will “fight for the gun violence prevention measures that will help keep our families safe.”
A gunman killed 49 people and injured dozens more when he stormed a gay nightclub in Orlando in June.
Murphy faces Rubio in the Nov. 8 general election. In a statement Monday, Murphy said Rubio “never found the courage to stand” with Leinonen.
“Marco Rubio went back to Washington and stood with the gun lobby to oppose commonsense measures that would help keep Florida families safe. Marco Rubio puts the gun lobby before Floridians every time,” said Murphy in a statement. “I’m fighting for Christine, for those we lost at Pulse, and for Florida

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Democrats throughout Florida call on GOP opponents to denounce #TrumpTapes vulgar comments

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

A newly released videotape showing Donald Trump making crude comments about a married woman he tried to seduce is sending shock waves throughout Florida politics.
“I’ve said some foolish things,” the Republican presidential nominee said overnight Friday in a taped apology posted on Facebook. “But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women.”
But Florida Democratic candidates statewide are not letting Trump off the hook so easily. Nearly all of them are calling for the Republican nominee — as well their opponents who support him — to either clarify their position or withdraw from the race.
U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy released a statement Saturday calling Trump’s comments “disgusting,” blasting his opponent, incumbent Republican Marco Rubio, for giving a tepid response.
“While prominent Republicans like Senators Mike Crapo and Kelly Ayotte have already withdrawn their endorsements,” Murphy writes. “Marco Rubio issued a tweet with empty rhetoric and continues to stand by his choice for President.”
“Donald Trump’s comments are sickening, inexcusable and dangerous,” Murphy said. “They contribute to a culture that devalues women and makes our society unsafe … Trump is an unhinged misogynist who has no place anywhere near our country’s highest office.”
Murphy points out Rubio claims he ran for re-election to serve as a check on the next president, even if that president was Trump.
“But how can he serve as a check on a Trump presidency if he won’t even hold Trump accountable as a candidate?” Murphy concluded. “If Senator Rubio cannot withdraw his endorsement after this latest sickening news, then he should withdraw from the race.”
Randy Perkins, who faces Republican Brian Mast in the race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, says that his opponent has regularly ignored the regular flow of Trump’s “crude comments about women.”
In a statement, Perkins accuses Mast of continuing to

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As national Democrats pull ads, new Associated Industries poll shows Patrick Murphy trailing Marco Rubio by eight

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Rep. Patrick Murphy remains unknown, and that could be problematic for Democrats hoping to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio come Election Day.
A new tracking poll from conservative-leaning Associated Industries of Florida showed 51 percent of likely Florida general election voter said they either had no opinion or had never heard of Murphy.
The numbers might be troubling, but the survey suggests Murphy faces a significant hurdle in Democratic leaning South Florida. In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region, 22 percent of likely voters said they had no opinion of him, while 34 percent said they had never heard of him.
Murphy has struggled with name recognition for months. A Public Policy Polling survey in early September found 29 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion of Murphy, while 24 percent had an unfavorable opinion. In that poll, 47 percent of Floridians said they didn’t have an opinion of the U.S. Senate hopeful.
A recent Florida Chamber Political Institute survey found 29 percent of Floridians polled said “never heard of” Murphy. That poll found 22 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion of Murphy, while 24 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
The most recent AIF poll — completed Tuesday night, before much of the state shifted into serious storm preparation — showed similar results. The poll, obtained by Florda Politics, found 22 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion, while 27 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
Unsurprisingly, Rubio is well-known throughout the state. Just 17 percent of respondents saying they either had no opinion or were unaware of the Miami Republican. The survey found 40 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion of him, while 43 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
The poll showed Rubio is leads Murphy, 49 percent to 41 percent. Nine percent of Floridians said they were still unsure about who they would be voting for.
That 8-point lead is due in part to strong support

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Marco Rubio at 48%, Patrick Murphy at 44% in new Quinnipiac University poll

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The race for the U.S. Senate is close, with just four percentage points separating Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy.
A new Quinnipiac University poll found Rubio as a slight edge over Murphy, with 48 percent of voters backing the Miami Republican. The survey found 44 percent of respondents said they were supporting Murphy.
“Sen. Marco Rubio has led in the polls for re-election since he changed his mind and decided to seek a second term,” said Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement. “But his margin over U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, the Democratic challenger, has never been large enough to make Sen. Rubio comfortable.”
Rubio’s lead over Murphy narrowed since Quinnipiac’s last U.S. Senate poll. That survey, released in early September, showed Rubio at 50 percent and Murphy at 43 percent.
The latest poll showed Rubio leads among independent voters, 52 percent to 41 percent. He also leads among male voters, 59 percent to 30 percent, and white voters. Among white voters with a college degree, Rubio leads Murphy 54 percent to 38 percent. He also leads the Treasure Coast Democrat among white voters without a college degree, 61 percent to 36 percent.
“It looks like the battle to control the U.S. Senate will go down to the campaign’s final days,” said Brown in a memo, noting races in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania could be key to deciding control.
According to a Real Clear Politics average of polls, Rubio has a lead of 5.2 points over Murphy. The website has ranked the state’s U.S. Senate race as a “toss-up.” While the Quinnipiac University poll didn’t include a breakdown of demographics, it’s results are similar to other polls released recently. According to the Miami Herald, a new poll from Associated Industries of Florida showed Rubio was leading

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Patrick Murphy attacks Marco Rubio’s attendance record in new ad

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Rep. Patrick Murphy is promising voters to “never stop working” for them in a new TV spot.
The 30-second spot, called “Office,” highlights Sen. Marco Rubio’s attendance record. In the advertisement, Murphy says the Miami Republican “too often … didn’t show up and failed us when he did.”
“To get things done, you have to show up. You have to work together,” he says in the advertisement. “Whether it’s protecting Social Security and women’s healthcare or growing the economy, we’ve got to start solving problems instead of pointing fingers.”
Murphy then says he’ll “never stop working for you.”
Rubio’s attendance came under scrutiny during his presidential run, when opponents attacked his voting record. According to GovTrack, Rubio missed 234 of 1,633 roll call votes, or about 14 percent, between January 2011 and September 2016. GovTrack shows he missed the most votes between October 2015 and December 2015.
Murphy, according to GovTrack, missed 63 of 2,481 roll call votes, or about 2.5 percent, between January 2013 and September 2016.
“For Florida families across this state, their jobs aren’t optional. They show up and work hard, but for too long Marco Rubio has failed to do the same,” Murphy said in a statement Monday. “Marco Rubio abandoned his job to pursue his political ambition and earned the worst voting record of any Florida senator in nearly 50 years. When he did show up, he fought for special interests instead of Floridians and took reckless stances on women’s health and gun violence prevention.”

The post Patrick Murphy attacks Marco Rubio’s attendance record in new ad appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Marco Rubio endorsed by National Association of Realtors

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio has scored the endorsement of the National Association of Realtors.
The Rubio campaign announced Friday that Rubio received a unanimous recommendation from the Florida Realtors RPAC Trustees.
“Senator Rubio has been a strong voice for realtors and homeowners, including an active role in the effort to protect the mortgage interest deduction and establishing fair and affordable flood insurance,” said Matey Veissi, the president of the Florida Realtors in a statement. “Senator Rubio has most recently been working in the Senate to push for passage of legislation to broaden the flood insurance marketplace and lower rates.”
Rubio announced in June he was running for re-election, and easily won his Republican primary. He’ll face Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Treasure Coast Democrat, in the Nov. 8 general election.
The race is one of the most watched Senate races in the country, and could play a role in determining control of the U.S. Senate.
The race is expected to be close. A recent survey by the Florida Chamber Political Institute showed Rubio leads Murphy, 46 percent to 42 percent. Eleven percent of Floridians polled said they were undecided.
The poll of 617 registered voters was conducted from Sept. 15 through Sept. 20. The survey had a margin of error of 4 percent.
The National Association of Realtors is one of the nation’s largest trade associations with about 1.1 million members. In a statement, Rubio said he appreciated “the support and work of the National Association of Realtors.”
“look forward to working with Florida realtors as I continue to earn the support of voters across the state and fight for Florida’s families,” he said.
The post Marco Rubio endorsed by National Association of Realtors appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Senate Leadership Fund takes aim at Patrick Murphy over Iran deal

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

A conservative super PAC is focusing on Rep. Patrick Murphy’s support of the Iran nuclear deal.
Senate Leadership Fund launched a new ad Tuesday aimed at highlighting his support of the nuclear deal. The 30-second spot, according to the Tampa Bay Times, will run on cable and broadcast in Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.
The ad criticizes Murphy for support of the Iran nuclear deal.
“They still chant death to America, help kill our troops and sponsor terrorism,” a narrator says in the ad. “But Patrick Murphy supports the dangerous nuclear deal that releases billions of dollars to Iran and puts Iran on the path to nuclear weapons. Murphy supports this bad deal, even though Iran keeps building weapons and brags about restoring the nuclear program.”
It ends with the narrator saying: “Don’t take the risk with Patrick Murphy.”
Murphy faces Sen. Marco Rubio in the Nov. 8 general election.

The post Senate Leadership Fund takes aim at Patrick Murphy over Iran deal appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Florida Chamber poll shows Marco Rubio at 46%, Patrick Murphy at 42%

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Another day, another poll showing a close race between Rep. Patrick Murphy and Sen. Marco Rubio.
The Florida Chamber Political Institute released a new poll Monday that showed Rubio and Murphy were locked into a tight race. The survey found Rubio was at 46 percent, while Murphy was at 42 percent. Eleven percent of Floridians polled said they were undecided.
The poll of 617 registered voters was conducted from Sept. 15 through Sept. 20. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percent.
According to the Florida Chamber Political Institute, Rubio leads Murphy among Hispanics, 46 percent to 43 percent. He also leads Murphy among white voters, 53 percent to 35 percent. Murphy, meanwhile, holds a 68 percentage point lead over Rubio among African American voters, 79 percent to 11 percent.
With just a few weeks until Election Day, Murphy appears to remain unknown. The survey found 29 percent of respondents said they had never heard of Murphy, while 22 percent said they had a favorable view of Murphy. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Murphy.
Rubio is well known, and Floridians views seem evenly split. The survey found 43 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the Miami Democrat, while 44 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion.
Florida’s U.S. Senate race is one of the most closely watched races in the nation, and could determine control of the U.S. Senate.
The post Florida Chamber poll shows Marco Rubio at 46%, Patrick Murphy at 42% appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Bill Nelson: NASA reauthorization bill requires feet on Mars

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

NASA will be required to commit to putting people on Mars in the latest U.S. Senate NASA reauthorization bill, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday.
The Bill, S. 3346, was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday authorizing NASA to spend $19.6 billion budgeted for the agency and setting a few new requirements, including that NASA commit to a human settlement on Mars.
That’s NASA’s plan already, though it’ll take 20 years.
Nelson, the Orlando Democrat who sponsored the bill, declared Wednesday that provision and others aim to set consistent policy at the agency through future presidential administrations.
“Fifty-five years after President Kennedy challenged the nation to put a man on the moon, the Senate is challenging NASA to put humans on Mars,” Nelson stated in a news release issued by his office. “The priorities that we’ve laid out for NASA in this bill marks the beginning of a new era of American spaceflight.”
Not mentioned in the bill nor Nelson’s comments is neither Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton nor Republican candidate Donald Trump has said much about space policy, nor made any definite commitments for the agency’s “Journey To Mars” program, which now is driving much of NASA’s agenda.
The bill requires NASA to develop and submit a plan to Congress on a strategic framework and critical decision plan, based on current technologies, to achieve the exploration goals and objectives of a human mission to Mars.
The committee’s passage of the bill Wednesday may be significant but getting the bill into law remains a challenge. No NASA authorization bill has passed both chambers and gotten signed into law since 2010.
That earlier bill, written by Nelson and Texas Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, remains the agency’s blueprint for operations and planning, including authorization to build America’s biggest, most powerful rocket ever, the Space Launch System, and a space capsule called

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Bill Nelson: NASA reauthorization bill requires feet on Mars

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

NASA will be required to commit to putting people on Mars in the latest U.S. Senate NASA reauthorization bill, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday.
The Bill, S. 3346, was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday authorizing NASA to spend $19.6 billion budgeted for the agency and setting a few new requirements, including that NASA commit to a human settlement on Mars.
That’s NASA’s plan already, though it’ll take 20 years.
Nelson, the Orlando Democrat who sponsored the bill, declared Wednesday that provision and others aim to set consistent policy at the agency through future presidential administrations.
“Fifty-five years after President Kennedy challenged the nation to put a man on the moon, the Senate is challenging NASA to put humans on Mars,” Nelson stated in a news release issued by his office. “The priorities that we’ve laid out for NASA in this bill marks the beginning of a new era of American spaceflight.”
Not mentioned in the bill nor Nelson’s comments is neither Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton nor Republican candidate Donald Trump has said much about space policy, nor made any definite commitments for the agency’s “Journey To Mars” program, which now is driving much of NASA’s agenda.
The bill requires NASA to develop and submit a plan to Congress on a strategic framework and critical decision plan, based on current technologies, to achieve the exploration goals and objectives of a human mission to Mars.
The committee’s passage of the bill Wednesday may be significant but getting the bill into law remains a challenge. No NASA authorization bill has passed both chambers and gotten signed into law since 2010.
That earlier bill, written by Nelson and Texas Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, remains the agency’s blueprint for operations and planning, including authorization to build America’s biggest, most powerful rocket ever, the Space Launch System, and a space capsule called

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Monmouth University poll: Marco Rubio 47%, Patrick Murphy 45%

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The race for the U.S. Senate continue to be close, with a new poll showing just two points separate Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy.
A new Monmouth University survey showed Rubio is at 47 percent, while Murphy is at 45 percent. The survey of 400 likely Florida voters has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
The survey found many voters didn’t know much about Murphy, a Treasure Coast Democrat. When asked their opinion of Murphy, 59 percent of respondents said they had no opinion. The poll found 27 percent had a favorable opinion, while 13 percent had an unfavorable view.
Floridians also have a mixed reaction to Rubio, with 37 percent saying they had a favorable opinion of the Miami Republican. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion, while 27 percent said they had no opinion.
As for why Rubio decided to run for re-election, 59 percent of respondents said he got in the race to improve his changes for a future presidential run. The survey found 22 percent said he did it to serve the public.
That isn’t to say Floridians don’t approve of the work he’s doing in the U.S. Senate. The poll found 46 percent of respondents said they approved of the job he’s doing while 38 percent said they disapproved.
The U.S. Senate race is one of the most closely watched races in the country, and many believe it could decide control of the Senate. Outside groups are pouring millions into the race, and on Tuesday the Senate Leadership Fund launched a $10.8 million fall TV campaign taking aim at Murphy. Groups backing Murphy, including the ALF-CIO, have also launched advertising campaigns.
The post Monmouth University poll: Marco Rubio 47%, Patrick Murphy 45% appeared first on Florida Politics.

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