Marco Rubio

Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

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Why Rick Scott should not run for the Senate. It's not what you think.



By Brian E. Crowley

Many believe that most mornings Florida Governor Rick Scott looks in the mirror and sees the Sunshine State's newest U.S. Senator. Certainly Republicans hope he is right.

Scott is their perfect candidate. He can largely pay his own way. He has won two statewide races. And most importantly, he could knock off a three-term Democrat - Bill Nelson - and perhaps help the GOP keep control of the Senate.

Those are swell reasons for the Republican Party to cheer him on but the fact is that Scott might just be miserable as a United States senator. Unless, his plan is to retire to the Senate - and he would not be the first, Scott might be better off not running.

Let's start with why Scott would be miserable.

Continue reading "Why Rick Scott should not run for the Senate. It's not what you think." »

Jeb Bush should stop talking and start running for the Senate



By Brian E. Crowley

Sometimes the saddest thing is watching a politician who has been booted from the stage. No matter how happy they say they are, one can always see the longing to be back. Sometimes they run again. Sometimes they pontificate from the sidelines, with fewer and fewer people paying attention. Jeb Bush has been doing a lot of pontificating lately.

He is clearly still ticked off at his humiliating 2016 defeat. He has the good fortune of being able to blame his loss on Donald Trump, a character he breezily dismissed when much of the Republican world presumed Bush would be their nominee.

One can only imagine how it felt when in the early debates he stood center stage and then as his poll numbers dropped found himself standing further on the edge while Trump took his place at center stage.

Partly, Bush continues to blame Sen. Marco Rubio.  In the Bush world, once Jeb decided to run, no loyal Florida Republican would dare to challenge him. Rubio, considered at the time one of the leading figures in what many believed would be a new GOP, saw no reason to stand aside for his elder.

Today, Bush still pokes at Rubio.

During an interview with USA Today's Alan Gomez, Bush, talking about immigration, said, "God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price. That's the  attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard."

During a podcast with The Federalist, Bush chastised Rubio again. "When you're that talented and knowledgeable about subjects you need to step up," said Bush. "I think he's being too cautious."

So about that stepping up stuff. Perhaps, it's time for Bush to step up. Chirping from the sidelines makes him sound more like a parent yelling at the umpire during a middle school baseball game.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush should stop talking and start running for the Senate" »

Can Hillary Clinton drag Patrick Murphy over the finish line

Not likely but possible. That's the short answer as to whether Congressman Patrick Murphy's dismal campaign can be saved by Hillary Clinton.

Murphy's campaign has been a bit of mystery. When Murphy believed that incumbent U.S. Senator Marco Rubio would keep his word to not run for a second term if he lost his bid to be president, it was naive. Rubio's life is about politics and while the Republican clearly is disappointed by the inertia of Senate, leaving public life was never a real possibility.

Without Rubio in the race, Democrats believed Murphy had an excellent chance to win against whoever would be the GOP nominee. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority PAC, were prepared to spend heavily in support of Murphy.

But like a bicycle tire with a slow leak, Murphy's campaign seemed to go flat shortly after Rubio shocked no one by saying he wanted to stay in the Senate.

Rubio has remained comfortably in the lead in public polls. Real Clear Politics polling average gives Rubio a 4.2 point lead. One gets a hint of what internal Democratic Party polls are saying by the fact that the DSCC  and the Super Majority PAC (led by Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer) have pulled out of Florida claiming the state is too expensive (it wasn't less expensive when they planned to support Murphy).

There have been missteps. Rubio challenged Murphy to six debates. Murphy should have accepted immediately and insisted that debates start that week. Instead, he turned it into a debate about debates saying he wanted Rubio to commit to a 6-year term.

Murphy's team loves the 6-year term argument. It has become a central point of their campaign. Perhaps there are voters who care but not many. Running for higher office in the middle of one's term is well, part of American politics. Few will be shocked if Rubio runs for president again in 2020.

Murphy's exaggerated resume landed him in deep trouble. In June, CBS4 investigative reporter Jim Defede nailed Muprhy for claiming he worked as a CPA when he did not and for starting a small business which in fact it is not that simple.

This was fall on your sword time. Instead, Murphy and his team counterattacked. It didn't work and kept the story alive. And handed Rubio a campaign message to use against Murphy.

Continue reading "Can Hillary Clinton drag Patrick Murphy over the finish line" »

This is why Marco Rubio still endorses Donald Trump


No one has ever accused Marco Rubio of being one of Florida's - or the nation's - most courageous politicians. Like most, Rubio first does what is best for Rubio. And right now for him, there is more risk in not endorsing Donald Trump than in abandoning him.

Clearly, Rubio can't stomach Trump. His feeble excuse for continuing to endorse Trump is trapped in the silly putty logic that suggests as troublesome as Trump is, Rubio is even more troubled by Hillary Clinton's policies.


Rubio is simply trapped by the fear that if he dumps Trump, he will tick off a lot of conservative Florida Republicans who might decide to punish Rubio by skipping the U.S. Senate race on the ballot - or, though less likely, voting for his Democratic rival Patrick Murphy.

Trump will do very well with voters in the Panhandle and other parts of North and Central Florida. Trump will also do well in Southwest Florida. If the Senate race is a close one, it would not take too many Republicans deserting Rubio to put the race in question. 

Why take the risk?

Murphy's campaign has been unimpressive. Many voters still don't know who Murphy is. The Democrat is hoping that by linking Rubio to Trump, Democrats and independents (and perhaps a few Trump-abandoning Republicans) will put him over the top.

It remains a tall order.

For now, Rubio is the likely winner. What Rubio loses is an opportunity to be a real leader by taking a stand and withdrawing his endorsement of Trump. 

Unless of course, Rubio really believes in his heart that Donald Trump should be in the Oval Office. And if that is true - it begs a number of questions about Rubio's judgement. 

Why Jeb Bush should endorse Hillary Clinton

By Brian E. Crowley


Jeb Bush has said he has no intention of voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. It is a silly and disturbing notion.

Florida’s 29 electoral votes will decide whether Trump or Clinton will go to the White House. It will be an extremely close race with a Florida victory squeezed out by the smallest of margins. Recent polls suggest a slight Trump lead or a statistical tie.

There is a very reasonable chance that Trump could win Florida and with it the White House. If you merely look at the race in the style of the soulless Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a Trump victory is merely a win for the GOP and the name on the White House mailbox matters little as long as it belongs to a Republican.

Some Florida Republicans are repulsed by the idea of Trump leading the GOP and they have actively, if so far ineffectively, been part of the NeverTrump movement.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush has been largely silent. He will tweet on occasion about issues that interest him. Bush took some time off to do a skit with Jimmy Kimmel for a pre-Emmy Award show. (He was very good, acting an out of work Uber driver).

Sitting on the sidelines since quitting his own presidential bid, Bush seems to be content essentially telling voters – you picked a lunatic over me, live with it.

The middle child of the Bush family needs to get over it and step up for Florida and his party. It is unconscionable that Jeb Bush would abandon the party when it needs him most. His family has been deeply involved in the GOP since his grandfather, Prescott Bush, was elected to the U.S. Senate from Connecticut in 1952.

If he believes, as many establishment Republicans do, that Trump would be the destruction of the GOP, how can Bush remain idle? Was his campaign for president an ego-trip or a belief that Republican Party principles are better for the future of the nation?

Late Monday night, it was reported by CNN, Politico and others that Bush’s father, former President George Bush, told former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend he plans to vote for Clinton.

The elder Bush, 92, over the years has developed a close relationship with former President Bill Clinton, the man who defeated him in 1992. Former President George W. Bush also has a close relationship with Clinton often joking that he is his “brother from another mother.”

Despite these public friendships between the Bush and Clinton families, Jeb is the moody outsider who can’t bring himself to publicly support Hillary Clinton.

Yet, perhaps the last, most notable public service Bush could perform in this election would be to endorse Hillary Clinton.

As already stated, Florida will be won by a small percentage of votes. Bush does not have the political power in the Sunshine State he once held, but in a race this close, he could have an impact. His endorsement could free others to publicly abandon Trump – perhaps even U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio who still harbors presidential ambitions.

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post and a Bush admirer, wrote last week:

Continue reading "Why Jeb Bush should endorse Hillary Clinton" »

Marco Rubio's latest pitch for money.

In his new email to raise money for his campaign, Marco Rubio offers a two minute audio message to potential donors. 

Rubio starts saying he is "took a pause from campaigning today so I could record this important message for you."  Listeners then get a common political message where "the stakes have never been higher" and "your support has never been more critical."

He then warns that President Obama and the Democratic Party are working hard to defeat him because, "they know if they can defeat me they can control the Senate." Rubio also manages to take a swipe at the media.

Rubio is expected to easily defeat Carlos Beruff in the August 30 Republican primary. Many expect that he will face Democrat Patrick Murphy who is expected to defeat Alan Grayson.

You can here Rubio's pitch below:


Marco Rubio video features mother he helped when daughter had cancer

This is one of those ads that - while being used for politics - rises above it all.  Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio helped this mother when her daughter was dying of breast cancer. 

"Thanks to Marco, I had three more months with my daughter," she says. "Marco Rubio was there for me when I needed him most."

If nothing else, the ad is reminder that politics at its best is about helping those who feel helpless.

Here's the video:


Patrick Murphy video reminds Marco Rubio that he called Donald Trump a con man

RubiofinThis is not a video that will be much of a surprise to the Marco Rubio or his campaign team. They have been preparing for battle with Democrat Patrick Murphy and there little doubt that they have expected Murphy to remind Florida voters about some of the things Rubio said about Donald Trump.

In this minute-plus video, we repeatedly hear Rubio call Trump a "con man." The video also shows Rubio repeatedly being asked how he can support Trump now after spending months calling him a con man.

Left out of the video is Rubio's explanation that as much as he disagrees with Trump, he disagrees with everything that Hillary Clinton believes. Rubio also says if he returns to the Senate, he will be in a position to provide opposition to policies he disagrees with no matter which candidate enters the White House.

Still, Rubio has neatly tied himself to Trump and his supporters. The only question that remains: If Trump implodes does Rubio fall with him?

Here's the video:


Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

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Are Florida Republicans a leaderless party?

Who is the leader of the Florida Republican Party?

Governor Rick Scott? Marco Rubio? Adam Putnam? Pam Bondi? Jeff Atwater?

Or perhaps Jeb Bush?

Or – are Florida Republicans so fractured that there is no single leader of the party?

Today’s Florida Republican Party is very different than the one Bush took over when he staged a coup in 1994. He showed up in that year’s governor’s race as candidate who had never run for office, had limited campaign experience and a business background marked by notable failures. Like Donald Trump, what he did have was a name everyone knew – Bush.

With the help of his family name, Bush easily pushed aside more established GOP candidates to become the party’s nominee for governor. Bush would narrowly lose that election to incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles, but the GOP would take over the Senate and the Florida Cabinet. And Bush began his reign has the undisputed leader of the Florida Republican Party.

Today, Florida Republicans are rudderless. The party that Bush ruled with a firm hand for more than a decade, is fractured. The slide began with the election of Charlie Crist as governor in 2006. It’s hard to believe now that at one point Crist was among those being considered to be John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Crist, much like his arch-enemy Marco Rubio, was always a malleable Republican shifting direction as fit his political ambitions. Florida Republicans tolerated Crist because, well, he was governor. And by golly, if a Floridian became vice president that would be swell too.

Bush deeply cared about the machinery of politics. He put his best people in the right places. Crist could care less. He turned the party machine over to the now notorious Jim Greer who plundered the party coffers and ended up in prison.

Crist’s hold on the party was so tenuous that a faux hug from President Obama led to screams from Eler
the hard right and opportunity for Rubio. The once moderate Rubio found maneuvering room by suddenly becoming an ardent follower of the emerging Tea Party movement. Many establishment Republicans laughed at the notion that Rubio could successfully challenge Crist who decided he would rather be a U.S. Senator than run for a second term as governor.

It was a calamitous moment for the Florida GOP and it began the cracking of party unity.

Rubio became a hero of the Tea Party and as the 2010 primary approached, his ardent followers were overwhelming the GOP establishment. And Republicans who had been lukewarm about Crist suddenly had an opportunity to abandon him

Crist leaves the GOP to run as independent. Rubio captures the party nomination and goes on to win a three way race defeating Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek.

At the same time, a stranger arrived in town – Rick Scott.

Continue reading "Are Florida Republicans leaderless?" »

Obama asks for money for Patrick Murphy

You just know this is going to tick off the easily tick-offable Alan Grayson. President Barack Obama has signed a fundraising email for Grayson's senate campaign rival Patrick Murphy.

This comes on the heels of Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Murphy. One of these two Democrats will face the winner of the Republican primary - incumbent Marco Rubio or political newbie Carlos Beruff.

Here's the email:


Friend -- I’m emailing today to tell you why I’m with Patrick Murphy.

Patrick's a strong progressive who's fought special interests on behalf of working families -- and won. In Congress, he’s also fought to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, stand up to the NRA for gun violence prevention, and protect a woman’s right to choose.

With all that's at stake, we need Patrick Murphy in the Senate. But he’ll need your help to get there.

Will you please join me in standing with Patrick and contribute $5 so he can meet his $50,000 goal before the FEC pre-primary deadline, tomorrow at midnight?

Patrick stands up to Republicans on behalf of our shared values. It's why they're attacking him. They know he can win in November and help Democrats retake the Senate, and they’ll spare no expense to defeat him.

We need you on our side to fight back. Can you step up and chip in to help Patrick meet his goal before tomorrow’s big deadline?

I count on Patrick Murphy. You can too, friend.

Thank you,
Barack Obama


Are Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio political twins?

Long shot Republican senate candidate Carlos Beruff has a new ad suggesting that former Florida Governor Charlie Crist and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio are political twins.

Beruff's ad calls both men political opportunists who rely on political doublespeak. Beruff's campaign is based on being a successful businessman  and political outsider.  Sound familiar?

Here's the ad:


Carlos Beruff says he is not ashamed of Donald Trump

Republican businessman and Florida U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff says he loves Donald Trump and if rival Marco Rubio doesn't, Beruff would be happy to take his place at the Republican National Convention. Rubio recently described Trump as "worrisome," while still saying he will vote for Trump because he believes Hillary Clinton is worse.

From the Beruff campaign:

Today, Carlos Beruff released the following statement regarding reports that establishment Republicans are shying away from speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland:
“Donald Trump is a businessman with real-world experience who’s looking to shake up the status quo in Washington. So am I. The career politicians in Washington are always afraid to lose power and candidates like Trump and myself challenge their authority. It’s no surprise that Marco Rubio and others are shying away from supporting Donald Trump.
“I’m happy to take Marco Rubio’s slot at the Republican National Convention because I’m not ashamed of Donald Trump as our nominee. Trump is motiving voters across Florida and the country who have felt ignored by the Republican and Democratic establishment alike. He’s looking to shake up Washington and I’m behind him 100%.”

Patrick Murphy accuses Marco Rubio of lying about immigration

After a crummy week of media reports questioning the veracity of parts of his resume, Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is apparently hoping to change topics with this tidbit about Republican Marco Rubio. We suspect Rubio (and Murphy's Democratic rival, Alan Grayson, are not about to let Murphy's resume questions slide.

From the Murphy campaign:

Patrick Murphy released the following statement on the anniversary of the Senate passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

“Marco Rubio played both sides of the debate on comprehensive immigration reform, one day touting his support and the next tearing it down,” said Rep. Murphy. “What’s clear is that Rubio doesn’t care about the millions of people who live in fear of deportation. He only cared which way the wind was blowing, and abandoned Florida’s Hispanic community to further his presidential ambitions. Today, our immigration system remains broken and Florida families are paying the price for Marco Rubio’s political opportunism.

“Our families need a fighter who will stand up to fix our broken immigration system, stand by their word, and do their job. I’m the only candidate who will put Florida families first and I will continue fighting to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate.”

Rick Scott tells Marco Rubio to pound sand

RickScottGovernor Rick Scott is urging Florida voters to take a look at his buddy, businessman Carlos Beruff, as their choice to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

Washington GOP leaders begged Marco Rubio to run for a second term and, after much staging, Rubio "reluctantly" announced this week that he would oblige them.

Whoa!, said Scott in post on Facebook earlier today.

When I ran for office in 2010, I was a political outsider and the entire Republican establishment was against me. They already had their hand-picked candidate and it wasn’t me.

But, the voters of Florida spoke and I was elected Governor.

Carlos Beruff is a good friend of mine, a businessman and an outsider to politics. The voters of Florida deserve the opportunity to consider his candidacy alongside Senator Rubio and make their own decision.

The opinions of the political class in Washington are not relevant to the voters of Florida. Florida Republicans will pick the nominee on their own.

Translation - pound sand Marco.

One suspects that the Rubio camp is not happy with the Governor.  



CBS Miami investigation raises questions about Patrick Murphy's honesty

When you decide to run for statewide office in Florida, a candidate can expect the state's media to very carefully examine who they are, what they say, and how they got where they are. If a candidate exaggerates his resume - well, it is gonna get ugly.

Ugly has hit U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. And none of this is good for his bid to win the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.

And if does win the nomination, Murphy has handed likely GOP nominee Marco Rubio fodder to use against him.

Reporter Jim DeFede of CBS4 has done a two-part examination of Murphy's claims about his role as a small businessman and as a CPA. In great detail, Defede, one of South Florida's toughest reporters, takes apart Murphy's claims.

He finds that Murphy was not a CPA who spent years reviewing top companies.

From DeFede:  when Murphy said in 2012, “I got my CPA license and I spent years going to numerous Fortune 500 companies,” the truth is he only spent at most eight months – and not years – with Deloitte & Touche holding a CPA license valid only in Colorado, a state where Murphy has never lived or worked.

In fact, DeFede reports that Murphy's role at Deloitte & Touche was a minor entry level position.

Murphy also had claimed he was a small business owner of Coastal Environmental which worked on the BP oil spill.

DeFede finds that Murphy did not own the business (something Murphy has acknowledged) and that the company was a subsidiary of his father's company.

From Defede: Murphy’s involvement with Coastal Environmental was brief, no more than two to five months. And while it did operate, according to state records, Murphy wasn’t the president of the company. He was vice president. . . .neither Patrick Murphy nor Coastal Environmental Services were awarded a single contract to clean up oil in the Gulf.

Defede also notes: In May, the Miami Herald pointed out Murphy claimed for years to hold dual degrees from UM in Accounting and Finance. He even listed it as part of his official biography for the House of Representatives. In fact, he holds a single undergraduate degree in Business Administration.

The text of Defede's story can be found here

Marco Rubio not really running for a second, 6 year term

Marco Rubio is asking Floridians to ignore a year of telling them that if he lost his bid for the presidency he would not run for a second term in the U.S. Senate. And Rubio is keeping that promise. How you may ask?

Well, Rubio is not really running for a second, 6-year term. This is a placeholder position for him as he plans his second run for president. So expect that by 2018, Rubio will begin working on the 2020 race. And perhaps by 2019, we'll again get a pledge that Rubio will not run for a third term if he fails to win the GOP nomination.

In fact, Rubio when asked about finishing a second term, would not commit to doing so. According to the Miami Herald, Rubio: made no commitments about his future ambitions, declining to say if he’d serve a full, six-year term or run again for president in 2020 — or 2024.

“What I’m done making is unequivocal statements about anything at this point,” he said. “I don’t even know who the next president’s going to be. But I will say this to you: If I wanted to run for president in 2020, running for re-election in 2016 was probably not the best choice to make politically."

Rubio always couches his political moves in the womb of noble political sacrifice. 
There is nothing wrong with the raw ambition and political calculating that Rubio embraces as he continues his dream of being president. And perhaps he had a moment of doubt after dropping out of a brutal presidential campaign. 
But make no mistake, Rubio sees the Senate as a path to the White House - nothing more. And that's okay. If Floridians would like to see him succeed, they should support him in that endeavor.
Rubio's official statement is below:

In politics, admitting you’ve changed your mind is not something most people like to do. But here it goes.

I have decided to seek reelection to the United States Senate.

I understand my opponents will try to use this decision to score political
points against me. Have at it. Because I have never claimed to be perfect, or to have all the answers.

Still, the people of Florida deserve to know why I’ve changed my mind.

Continue reading "Marco Rubio not really running for a second, 6 year term" »

Marco Rubio says he will not be Donald Trump's running mate

RubiofinMinutes ago, former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio posted a definite "no" on Facebook apparently in an effort to end speculation that he is even remotely interested in being Donald Trump's running mate.


Of course, his statement could also be interpreted as offering a hint that he might be willing to run for a second term in the U.S. Senate.  





Jeb Bush tells more than 1 million Florida Republicans they were wrong

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Never doubt that Jeb Bush is taking his humiliating defeat for the Republican nomination very personally. His endorsement of Ted Cruz says more about Bush's anger at how Donald Trump pushed him out of the presidential race than his sudden love for Cruz. And Bush's decision not to endorse Marco Rubio before the Florida primary was little more than petty revenge because Rubio dared to run against him.

What's more, little more than a week after more than 1 million Florida Republicans voted for Trump - 46 percent of the GOP vote - Bush is backing the guy who got 17 percent of the Florida Republican vote.

If there remained any pretense at all, and there was very little left even before the campaign, that Bush remained a leader of the Florida GOP, his decision to back Cruz removed the last vestige of it.

Bush never really thought very much of the average Florida Republican. They were there to be instructed and led. Disagreement with Bush wisdom was at your own peril.

Many believe Bush's aim is to thwart Trump by helping establishment Republicans rally around Cruz in the hope of a brokered convention.

Florida Governor Rick Scott apparently disagrees. The day after the Florida primary (of course), Scott endorsed Trump. The day before, Attorney General Pam Bondi also endorsed Trump.

Does anyone seriously believe that Bush thinks Cruz should be president?

We certainly know he doesn't want Trump in the Oval Office.

And does anyone doubt that Bush believes Kasich is more qualified than either Cruz or Trump?

One telling part of Bush's endorsement was his proclamation it was for the “sake of our party and country.”

Interesting that he put party first.

During the campaign, Bush repeatedly said he would support the Republican nominee.

Does Bush still intend to do that - even if it is Donald Trump?