President Obama, under the auspices of stumping for Hillary, has decided to play kingmaker in Patrick Murphy’s flailing Senate bid against incumbent and veritable conservative star, Marco Rubio, in the last and coming week despite Murphy’s consistent trailing poll numbers. According to Politico:
Officially, Obama is campaigning for Hillary Clinton in the top swing state. But his efforts on Murphy’s behalf appear to be the trailing Democrat’s most significant bit of outside help.
On Friday, Obama called Murphy a “hard worker” in the mold of the Democratic nominee. The president touted Murphy’s work on Everglades restoration and led the crowd of some 9,000 people in the University of Central Florida’s basketball arena in a chant of “Patrick! Patrick! Patrick!”
There was no mention in Obama’s speech of the FBI taking renewed interest in Clinton’s emails, which in turn had given embattled Senate Republicans nationwide the opportunity to play some offense after the news broke Friday afternoon.
Instead, Obama talked up Clinton’s experience, reveled in his own record and expounded on the ways in which Murphy was unlike the incumbent.
“Unlike his opponent, Marco Rubio, Patrick actually shows up to his job,” an apparent reference to Rubio’s many missed votes while he was running for the GOP nomination.
“He didn’t say that he was supportive of Florida’s Latino community but then, when the politics got tough, you walk away from comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama continued. “Unlike his opponent, he actually believes in science and that climate change is happening.”
All that was relatively mild compared to the broadside Obama launched against Rubio the week before.
Just two days after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reneged on $6 million in planned spending, Obama traveled to Miami on October 20 and ripped into Rubio for showing the “height of cynicism” in supporting the Republican nominee.
Democratic turnout in early and absentee voting has encouraged party operatives. But Murphy has consistently trailed Rubio in public polling, even if the margin has varied from survey to survey.
Murphy easily won his primary against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), a race in which Obama also endorsed him. But since then, Murphy has been plagued by low name recognition and –- when his name does get out – by damaging opposition hits on his record in private business
Murphy especially has underperformed with black and Hispanic voters, who his campaign acknowledges have little knowledge of his candidacy. Obama’s trips to Florida to rip Rubio are the best earned media Murphy can get.”
At this point, Marco Rubio is still outside the margin of error to remain in his current seat in the US Senate. And as more early voting goes on in the next week, prior to the final tallies, it’s unlikely that President Obama’s multiple appearances in the must-have swing state will sway Rubio’s RCP average of +5.6 enough to affect the projected outcome, but realistically they can only help, not hurt, at this point.
Marco Rubio is one of the few who is seemingly established to come out of the general election better than he did out of the primaries.
When Republicans and conservatives saw the writing on the wall last summer as Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, they knew losing Rubio could very well mean losing the Senate. Rubio’s successor to the Republican Senate ticket, Ron DeSantis, willingly stepped aside and asked Rubio to run again, to which he finally relented and announced his candidacy for re-election to the Senate.
Conservatives in 2016 can hope for few better than Marco Rubio being re-elected to the Senate on November 8th. I suppose, like everything, we’ll see if the top of the Republican ticket keeps enough Florida Republicans home that President Obama’s advocacy of Patrick Murphy in the coming week sways the field despite Hillary’s troubles.