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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

As Rubio tours in Florida, opponents line up attacks



Marco Rubio is back in Florida, and he's touring the state as he faces re-election to the U.S. Senate.

The trip is drawing sharp criticism from opponents and protesters alike. A group gathered outside one of Rubio's events Monday to call for cleanup of algae blooms in South Florida, according to video from a Democratic "tracker."

"You better fix this water," a 9-year-old boy at the protest said. "If you don't, we're going to vote you out and we'll never vote for you again."

Rubio's first stops were in Fort Myers and Stuart, where he met with researchers and local officials about the Indian River Lagoon as an official Senate visit, according to his office. Tuesday, he went to Orlando to visit with businesses that suffered losses after the shooting at Pulse nightclub in June.

Democrats are using the swing as an opportunity to hit Rubio.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy's Senate campaign dubbed this Rubio's "Blast from the Past Tour." 

"Forty-nine innocent people were murdered in his home state, but Rubio was completely unmoved from his stubborn opposition to gun violence prevention measures and protections for the LGBT community," Murphy said in a press statement. "For him to come to Orlando after his staggering inaction is an insult to those we lost and those who are still in mourning."

They say they'll be dredging up old votes and positions all week long, as is the Florida Democratic Party.

Rubio's campaign responded by calling Murphy's attacks lies.

"First Patrick Murphy lied about his resume, and now he's lying about Marco," Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement. "The fact is he's desperate and will say anything to change the subject away from his desperate campaign."

The campaign heads to the Panhandle on Wednesday and will be in Tampa and Jacksonville on Friday and Saturday.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 2:40pm]


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