Marco Rubio wins US Republican primary in Florida

Cheryl Sanders
August 31, 2016

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has won the Democratic nomination to face Republican Sen.

Tuesday's outcome was what Democratic leaders have wanted for almost 18 months. McCain, who is trying to extend a 30-year Senate career, faces a challenge from physician and former state Senator Kelli Ward, who is aligned with the conservative Tea Party movement.

Rubio will now face the victor of the Democratic primary, either U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy or U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. Guess what, Senator? I've got two words for you.

Polls show Rubio with an early but narrow advantage over Murphy.

With 87.5 percent of precincts reporting, Rubio was leading developer Carlos Beruff by roughly 53 percentage points -- carrying nearly 71.9 percent of the vote to Beruff's 18.7 percent.

Freshman lawmaker Rubio of Florida easily defeated business executive Carlos Beruff, securing around 72 percent of the vote and setting up a clash with House Democrat Patrick Murphy. He continued that line of attack on Tuesday.

"Marco Rubio is the worst of Washington, because he puts himself first every time", Murphy said.

There is speculation that Rubio might still harbour presidential ambitions after media reports this week that he had refused to commit to serving all six years of a Senate term if he were re-elected. But he almost cleared what had been a crowded GOP field with his last-minute turnabout.

"With a vacancy on the Supreme Court, with the potential that Chuck Schumer of NY will be the majority leader".

Republicans now hold a 54-46 seat majority in the Senate. Florida's Senate seat is among nine that's considered a toss-up. Everything that just happened for Rubio was, to some degree or another, expected from the moment he (re) entered the race. In March, Trump ended Rubio's presidential bid by trouncing him in the Florida primary to cap a race in which the NY businessman taunted the first-term senator as "little Marco", and Rubio insulted Trump on everything from his hair color and the size of his hands to misspelled words in tweets.

Republican leaders encouraged Rubio to change his mind, seeing him as the best hope to keep his seat in GOP hands as Democrats sought to regain a majority in the Senate.

The primary also sets the field for a race that could determine whether Democrats regain control of the U.S. Senate.

Without backing from national Republicans and their donor networks, Beruff was forced to spend $8 million of his own money to forge a campaign in a state where TV ads are a necessity. But Beruff never gained traction. If elected, this would be Rubio's second term.

Arpaio had amassed a war chest of more than $10 million.

The Republican presidential nominee has endorsed both McCain and Rubio in their re-election bids even though he has rocky relations with both senators. Over the last 12 years, incumbents have won reelection to the Senate more than 85 percent of the time. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to sign Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Lynn Haven, Fla. "After spending the summer running from scandal and avoiding voters, Murphy has given Floridians little reason to believe he'll work on their behalf in Washington". But a series of self-inflicted résumé gaffes uncovered by the Herald/Times altered that equation.

Hotly contested primaries developed to fill the open House seats of Murphy and Grayson, as well as those vacated by the retiring Gwen Graham (D), Ander Crenshaw (R) and Curt Clawson (R).

Rubio is already using Murphy's résumé gaffes against him. As Donald Trump's polls numbers continue to slide, Murphy's strategy has been to tie Rubio to the Republican presidential nominee.

It promises to be a negative campaign that could turn off voters, but not enough to give the third party candidates a shot to win it.

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