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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Can Marco Rubio be blamed for Zika? Beruff thinks so

Republican Senate candidate Carlos Beruff

File Photo

Republican Senate candidate Carlos Beruff



Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff is trying to go after Marco Rubio for not doing enough to fight the spead of Zika in Florida.

"Rather than hold a press conference, Marco Rubio should be talking to Senate leadership and telling them that they need to act on Zika immediately," Beruff said in a statement to the media just as Rubio was planning to hold a press conference in Doral. "The people of Florida need action, not more talk from Marco Rubio."

Rubio in June supported a $1.1 billion aid package to fight Zika, that Democrats in the Senate blocked. Rubio then said while the package was far short of the $1.9 billion President Obama had requested, he considered it an improvement from previous aid packages that has dramatically less money.

Beruff has been trying to make the case that Rubio has not focused enough on doing the job he was elected to do. Beruff cites Rubio's missed votes while running for president as a key part of that argument. Rubio, meanwhile, continues to largely ignore Beruff. Rubio has not agreed to any debates with Beruff and the first television ads in support of Rubio have been focused on the general election in November and not the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

UPDATE (2:30 p.m.)

The Rubio campaign says they are not surprised at Beruff's latest attack.

"Each day we get closer to primary day, Carlos Beruff is getting more desperate," said Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for Rubio's campaign. "Only a few months ago, Carlos Beruff was praising Marco's strong leadership in pressing this administration and Democrats for more Zika funding. Now, he's desperate and saying whatever it takes."

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 2:32pm]


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