Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), an erstwhile Republican who earned the wrath of conservatives after unseating Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL) in the 2012 election cycle, announced today he is running for US Senate:
Democratic Florida congressman Patrick Murphy said on Monday he would run in 2016 for the U.S. Senate seat held by Marco Rubio, a high-profile Republican who is considering a presidential bid.
In a statement announcing his candidacy for Senate, he emphasized his background in business and accused Rubio of putting his political future ahead of the state.
"For years, Senator Rubio has put the needs of Floridians behind his presidential ambitions," Murphy said. "We need a leader in the Senate whose eyes are firmly fixed on the people of Florida by working together to get things done."
Actually, that’s not entirely fair for reasons I’ll explain: First, unlike other 2016 Republican hopefuls, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has publicly stated that he will not run for president and re-election simultaneously. As a matter of fact he made his intentions clear long ago. So while Rubio can perhaps be criticized for attending too many fundraisers and devoting lots of attention to testing the presidential waters (as all ambitious pols in both fields are doing, mind you), at least he won’t be juggling two high-profile races at the same time. Second, Rubio quite famously put his political career on the line after publicly backing comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. Few conservative Republicans were willing to attach their names to such a flawed piece of legislation that, at least in theory, was supposed to fix our broken immigration system. So if Rubio was, in fact, only concerned about his presidential ambitions, why on earth did he endorse a bill that he thought at the time was good for the country knowing full well supporting it would damage his credibility among conservatives and border hawks?
At any rate, it appears Rep. Murphy is directing his ire at a senator who, in all likelihood, will not be a senatorial candidate in 2016. Rubio’s chips are on the table and little doubt remains where his heart truly lies in 2016. His message is also resonating and the growing consensus is that, despite his middling polling numbers, he is preparing for the inevitable.
And so I suspect Team Murphy is hoping if not praying that Rubio will get out of the race -- and soon -- now that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Charlie Crist won’t challenge him for the nomination. Recent developments have improved his electoral prospects considerably.
We’ll see if he gets his wish after all.