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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

As Hillary Clinton speaks in his district today, Patrick Murphy won't be there

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter

Richard Graulich / AP/The Palm Beach Post

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter



Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy was invited to join Hillary Clinton during her latest trip to Florida today but "unfortunately won't be able to attend" because of a scheduling conflict, his spokesman Joshua Karp told the Times/Herald.

The Democratic presidential nominee will give a speech in Fort Pierce this morning -- in Murphy's Treasure Coast congressional district -- and then she's campaigning in Coral Springs.

Karp said Murphy's campaign had already scheduled a fundraiser for Murphy to attend in New York, before Clinton's events were announced. Today marks the end of third-quarter fundraising.

For more than a year, Murphy's U.S. Senate race (now against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio) has been touted by national Democrats as a must-win to help them take back the Senate.

But while other top Democrats -- including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden -- are openly and repeatedly singing Murphy's praises, Clinton has been quiet. She hasn't mentioned him or his contest at public events during her numerous recent trips to campaign in the Sunshine State.

A couple hours after the Times/Herald pointed that out earlier this month, Clinton released a statement formally endorsing Murphy.

In subsequent trips to Florida, Clinton still hasn't brought up Florida's U.S. Senate race -- even as Democrats are trying to rally voters to the polls and Murphy continues to suffer from low name-recognition statewide. A Democratic-led Senate would be vital to a Clinton administration getting its agenda passed.

Her running mate Tim Kaine didn't mention either Murphy or the Senate race while in Miami on Sunday, but Kaine did name-drop Murphy briefly in Lakeland a day later, calling him a "great candidate."

That was the first recognition the Clinton-Kaine operation has given Murphy during one of its events.

In other states, Clinton often gives shout-outs to local elected officials and congressional and Senate candidates at her rallies, particularly when they're in attendance with her. For instance, she praised Democratic candidates in similarly competitive U.S. Senate races in New Hampshire and North Carolina this week, with those candidates in the audience.

Murphy and Clinton have not been at the same event together for a year -- since when he attended a Clinton campaign event at Broward College last October.

On the Republican side, Rubio has also not appeared in person with presidential nominee Donald Trump. But Trump has acknowledged Rubio, as well as the importance of Florida's race; Trump was among those who urged Rubio to seek re-election.

Meanwhile, the Trump-Rubio dynamic is the polar opposite of the Clinton-Murphy one. Murphy has been all-in for Clinton since she announced her presidential bid, but Rubio has had the challenge of now supporting Trump, after a hostile, insult-riddled presidential competition between the two.

After today's New York fundraiser, Murphy will fly back to Florida. He has events planned Saturday in West Palm Beach and Venice.

*This post has been updated to reflect Tim Kaine's mention of Murphy in Lakeland.

[Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2016 12:03pm]


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