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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The sweet ties that bind Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson



Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson often vote differently on big issue with partisan overtones. But when it comes to Big Sugar, they are simpatico.

The lawmakers last week helped defeat a measure to phase out the federal sugar quota, which is a boon to businesses in Florida. The Wall Street Journal editorial page blasted Rubio and 15 other Republicans who voted to table Sen. Pat Toomey's reform bill.

"The usual sugar beet and sugar cane state suspects dominate the list, but one name leaps out—Mr. Rubio, the freshman from Florida who won his seat in 2010 while running as a tea party favorite in opposition to the crony capitalism and government meddling of the Obama Administration," the Journal writes. "Mr. Rubio nonetheless voted against consumers and for the big sugar-cane producers, including Florida's Fanjul family. Mr. Rubio thus voted to the left of the 16 Democrats who joined 30 Republicans in supporting sugar reform. Unlike Mr. DeMint, the Floridian was not a profile in courage on this issue, or even a profile."

The reference to S.C. Sen. Jim DeMint was his opposition to the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank, even though it had a big impact on his state.

Rubio in his new book, An American Son, writes about the financial help the Fanjuls provided to his 2010 Senate campaign:

"The Fanjuls suggested I spend Labor Day weekend in the Hamptons, where many of their friends and major Republican donors would spend the holiday," Rubio wrote. "Jeanette and I stayed in Mark Gerson's guesthouse. On Sunday night, Pepe and Emilia Fanjul hosted a dinner for us on their boat, and they invited former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rudy stayed for the entire dinner, and afterward we talked about my campaign. He wasn't ready to endorse me yet, but he was intrigued. There was no love lost between Rudy and Charlie Crist."

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 12:57am]


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