The race for the U.S. Senate in Florida is quickly becoming a two man contest.
Incumbent Senator Marco Rubio (R-West Miami) and challenger U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) appear to be in good position heading into the primary election, scheduled for Aug. 30. Murphy, endorsed by President Barack Obama, is working hard to win the seat. He collected toxic algae from the shores of Palm Beach County last month and delivered samples to members of Congress to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting Florida.
Michael Kenny, District Director for Murphy’s Congressional office, told SFGN the Congressman did not attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in order to focus on problems facing Florida.
Locally, voters have doubts about the incumbent. Eddie Facundo, a retired resident of Pompano Beach, said he is not voting for Rubio. When asked to name something Rubio had accomplished during his tenure in Washington, D.C., Facundo drew a blank. “I just don’t listen to him,” Facundo said.
Senators, Facundo said, are tasked with bringing funding back to their respective states. Last week, Rubio urged President Obama and members of Congress to use unspent funds to treat the Zika virus.
“We now know that there are mosquitos in the state of Florida that are carrying the Zika virus and four Floridians have been infected,” Rubio said on Friday. “This problem will only get worse, not better, unless we get ahead of it.”
Rubio is attempting to salvage his political career after falling short during the Republican Presidential primaries. The 45-year-old attorney is a former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives who was unable to defeat rivals Donald J. Trump and Ted Cruz in a failed bid for the Presidency.
The Murphy Campaign contends Rubio’s record in the Senate is less than stellar.
“His record is a disaster,” said Murphy Campaign spokesman Josh Wolf. “Marco Rubio has ignored the toxic algae crisis hurting Florida’s families for years. He’s headlining an event for anti-LGBT groups just months after Orlando. He refuses to take action on gun violence prevention.”
Right Wing Watch, a monitoring arm of the organization People For The American Way, reports Rubio is scheduled to attend an event in August just blocks away from the site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The event, billed under the title “Rediscovering God in America” includes speeches from notoriously anti-LGBT activists David Barton, Mat Staver, Bill Federer and Ken Graves.
“@marcorubio insults memory of @pulseorlando victims by headlining radical anti-LGBT event in Orlando. Shame!” tweeted Carlos Guillermo Smith, a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives in district 49.
Both Rubio and Murphy have primary opposition. Carlos Beruff, described as a mini version of Trump, is campaigning on the Republican side, while U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson appears to be the main challenger to Murphy on the Democratic side. Grayson, however, is embroiled in an ethics investigation and hounded by a report of domestic battery on his wife.
Several organizations have rescinded endorsements of Grayson and Senate leader Harry Reid has called on Grayson to drop out of the race, saying he is “an absolute fraud.”