Florida Senator Marco Rubio kicked off his official re-election bid on Tuesday, after handily winning his party’s nomination, by hitting his Democratic opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy, over his support of the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Patrick Murphy is an enthusiastic supporter of the nuclear deal with Iran, ” Rubio told his cheering supporters at the Embassy Suites in Kissimmee, Florida after calling his opponent “nothing more than an old-fashioned liberal” who supports ideas that are dangerous for the country. “And he is still a supporter of it even after Iran got $400 million in ransom; even after Iran took three more American hostages after the deal was finalized; even after Iran captured ten American sailors and tried to humiliate them, he still supports that deal.”
“He still says that deal will bring us peace in our time. The last guy who said that was a prime minister from England in the 1930’s, and he regretted it for the rest of his life,” Rubio added.
Rubio leads Murphy by an average of 6 points in what is expected to be a nationally watched race that could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in a tight race within the margin of error, according to recent polls.
So far, Rubio has been able to walk a tightrope in regards to his party’s presidential nominee. He has “kept a respectful distance without being disrespectful,” Marc Caputo, a reporter for Politico Florida, remarked. “So far, it’s working. Trump is behind in Florida while Rubio’s ahead.”
But Murphy didn’t waste time to try to weigh Rubio down with Trump. “There’s a serious debate to be had on these issues,” he said at his election night party in Palm Beach Gardens. “But I can guarantee you that not one of them starts with attacking a gold star family, with ridiculing the disabled, with banning entire religions or building a wall. And yet Republicans have chosen Donald Trump to be their leader. And Senator Marco Rubio wants to see Trump elected as our next president.”
Jewish supporters of both Rubio and Murphy predicted a win for their guy.
“Marco’s opponent is a pisher from Fischer Island, who was the subject of a devastating investigative report from a local CBS affiliate revealing he lied about his college degree, a CPA license, and his business experience,” Martin Sweet, Rubio’s director of Jewish outreach in the 2016 presidential primary, told Jewish Insider. “Marco’s steadfast support of Israel and hardcore opposition to the nuclear Iran deal stands in sharp contrast to his opponent who foolishly echoed Neville Chamberlain proclaiming that the deal would provide ‘peace in our time.’”
“I think the top of the ticket will significantly impact the Senate race, it most certainly will,” former Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler told Jewish Insider on Monday. “I think Patrick’s biggest advantage is that right now all the polling has Rubio slightly ahead, but Rubio’s name identification is universal, a hundred percent, while Murphy has great room for growth. Murphy will gain the vast majority of Jewish voters in Florida, there’s no question about that.”
A poll released on Friday showed that Clinton is supported by an overwhelming majority of Jewish voters in Florida (66 percent), and 51 percent supported the Iran deal.
But the Republican Jewish Coalition, already airing TV ads in the crucial battleground state, pointed out that while Iran and Israel are not at the top of voters’ minds, their top concern is the threat of ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. “Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism and Hillary Clinton supports sending them $100 billion,” RJC’s spokesman Fred Brown said. .”Due to President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s policies, voters have seen the world fall into chaos, as well as the erosion of our close alliance with Israel.”