Oh My: National Democrats Writing off Florida Senate Race?

Posted: Oct 03, 2016 1:15 PM

When Marco Rubio relented to heavy pressure from the Republican Party and reversed his decision not to seek re-election to the US Senate after dropping out of the presidential race, I wrote about the risk he was taking. My conclusion was that if his eleventh hour reversal failed to pan out, Rubio would be staring at the reality of being rejected by his state's Republican voters (in favor of Donald Trump) and his state's general electorate (in favor of one of two deeply flawed Democrats) within the span of nine months. That double blast of loserdom would cripple or doom any future political ambitions the Miami native may have harbored. A win, however, could help write a distinctly different script:

If Rubio prevails, his star will regain its glimmer, and he'll once again secure a prominent perch within the "future of the party's" upper echelon. Let's be candid: If Rubio wants to run for president again -- which I gather he does -- that would be a much stronger position to occupy than, for example, trying to mount another bid as a one-term ex-Senator who finished third in a failed White House bid, before promptly leaving public life. In other words, it's not a stretch to argue that if Rubio's loftier ambitions remain intact, today's announcement isn't exactly a pure gesture of selfless party loyalty and commitment to public service. Either way, Rubio has no time to lose...

The Florida Senator did exactly that, throwing himself into the race and mercilessly pummeling his Empty Suit opponent.  This hard-nosed approach has paid dividends, and the 'Marcomentum' comeback narrative appears to be one step closer to completion.  Democrats -- who vowed they would do whatever it took to destroy Rubio's career this cycle -- are wavering.  In this CNN story from June, one Democratic operative pounds his chest about the money advantage that Patrick Murphy would enjoy over Rubio: "John Morgan, an attorney and major Florida Democratic donor, said that Rubio will be "done forever" if he loses a bid for a second term. To make that happen, he said, donors would pour big bucks behind Rep. Patrick Murphy, the favorite of the Democratic establishment, who is facing progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson in the August primary. 'I think if Marco Rubio runs, Patrick Murphy will have more money than he can spend in Florida,' Morgan said."  That was then.  This is now:

In Florida, Democrats targeted first-term GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, considering his failed effort to fix the country’s problematic immigration system and him frequently abandoning Capitol Hill responsibilities to run for president made him unpopular among voters. But with less than six weeks before Election Day, Rubio is maintaining a roughly 6-percentage-point lead. And the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is cutting back a planned advertising blitz in Florida, which includes canceling ads into early October. The group, whose primary goal is to keep and win Senate seats, says it stands behind candidate Patrick Murphy. However, such a move late in the election cycle usually means a change in strategy in which such groups reallocate remaining money to states where TV advertising costs far less and they have better chances in November.

A few weeks ago, the DSCC "delayed" some planned spending. That postponement has now turned into a cancellation. The story above was published over the weekend.  People speculated that perhaps national Democrats were in possession of some internal polling that convinced them serial embellisher and do-nothing Congressman Patrick Murphy wasn't likely to stage a comeback. Lo and behold, a new poll shows Rubio pulling away. Mason-Dixon was one of the few pollsters measuring a tight race roughly a month ago. Now? The incumbent is running 11 points ahead of Donald Trump and poised to score a fairly dominant re-election victory in a large battleground state:

That Rubio advantage has more than doubled since late August. In the survey, he leads among independents by eight points, leads outright among Hispanics, and is virtually tied with women.  The incumbent has not trailed in a single public poll, dating to June. Democrats are closer than ever to putting this race in the "lost cause" column, along with their hilariously failing gambit to unseat Rob Portman in Ohio.  I'll leave you with this weekend development, which could also impact another important Senate race:

Good for Heck and Rubio -- and condolences to the victims' families.