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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

GOP primary between Marco Rubio and Carlos Beruff already looks over



Tuesday is Florida's primary elections, but you wouldn't know it by watching either of the two top Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate over the past week.

Carlos Beruff, the brash, self funding Republican hoping to take out Sen. Marco Rubio, has had just one campaign appearance over the last six days and reduced his television advertising spending.

Rubio has given three public campaign speeches totalling about one hour over three days and mentioned the looming primary race for all of 30 seconds. And in that short mention to campaign volunteers in Tallahassee, Rubio characterized Tuesday's get-out-the-vote effort as "practice" for what his campaign will need in November.

Officially both campaigns say they are still working hard and taking nothing for granted. But the actions of both show that reality is setting in with each new poll. On Thursday, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released new polling data from 400 likely Republican voters that showed 61 percent back Rubio, compared to just 22 percent for Beruff.

Rubio has this lead even though Beruff has poured more than $8 million of his own money into the campaign and pounded Rubio in a barrage of negative television ads over a six-week period.

Beruff's campaign is bypassing smaller events that campaigns traditionally do in the days before an election, and is focusing instead on TV interviews in key markets to reach a bigger audience. On Wednesday, for instance, Beruff did a pair of interviews in Spanish in Miami. On Miami's Colombian-American radio station, Caracol, Beruff insisted he had no regrets about the campaign and was not giving up.

"I don't know how to quit," he said.

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[Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2016 5:57pm]


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