Does Patrick Murphy Have a Shot at Beating Rubio?

It might all come down to Donald Trump for Florida Senate seat

Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida and incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio are using the other's presidential nominees to amp up their attacks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida and incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio are using the other's presidential nominees to amp up their attacks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:51am

Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy mentioned Donald Trump 28 times in the two Florida Senate debates, two words that appear to be the focus of his campaign against incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio

At recent rallies, Murphy called out Rubio’s claims of planning to stand up to Trump if he wins the presidential ticket, The Associated Press reported.

“When Donald Trump goes low, Marco Rubio is right there with him,” Murphy said at a recent Hillary Clinton rally.

Marco Rubio claims he’s going to stand up to Donald Trump if he’s elected to president. Really? Really? How exactly is Marco Rubio going to do that if he can’t even stand up to him as a candidate? Donald Trump boasts about sexual assault, and Marco Rubio looks the other way,” he said.

Murphy has trailed Rubio in polls consistently since the summer. A RealClearPolitics average of polls taken from Oct. 20 through Oct. 27 shows Rubio with a 5.6-point advantage and the race has strayed no more than a couple points either way.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as Leans Republican.

National Democrats had throttled back support for Murphy, cutting off money for advertising and sending it elsewhere, but some support is coming in the last couple of weeks of the campaign.

The Senate Majority PAC announced it would transfer at least $1 million to the Murphy-supporting super PAC, Floridians for a Strong Middle Class. 

[Murphy Gets a Cash Boost in Florida Senate Race]

And President Barack Obama has hammered Rubio — and Trump — at campaign stops in Florida.  

Marco Rubio said this was a dangerous con artist who spent a lifetime — spent a career — sticking it to working people,” Obama said at a rally in Miami Gardens last month. “Why does Marco Rubio still plan to vote for Donald Trump? Why is he supporting Donald Trump?”

Rubio has tried to use Clinton, the Democratic nominee, against Murphy, as well, saying he supports Trump to keep Clinton out of the White House, exploiting voters’ distrust of her past. 

“If Congressman Murphy is willing to trust Hillary Clinton 100 percent, he’s in rare company,” Rubio said during a debate. “The job of a U.S. senator is not to blindly trust a president because they happen to be from your own party.”

He also responded to Murphy’s Trump strategy.

“A noun, a verb and Donald Trump. That’s his answer to everything,” Rubio said.