Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Republican super PAC emphasizes Patrick Murphy's "lies" in new ad



A major Republican super PAC on Tuesday is starting a $10.8 million TV ad campaign against Democrat Patrick Murphy by continuing to highlight the U.S. Senate candidate's résumé controversy.

The topic has been the subject of a plethora of GOP ads so far in Florida's U.S. Senate contest, mostly from the National Republican Senatorial Committee but also from the Republican incumbent, Sen. Marco Rubio.

In its first TV ad of the general election, the Senate Leadership Fund asserts: "Phony Patrick Murphy lies...a lot."

The ad again targets Murphy's disputed credentials of working as a CPA and as a small business owner. But in contrast to recent NRSC ads, the Senate Leadership Fund avoids saying Murphy "never" did those jobs at all -- an extreme that PolitiFact rated "Mostly False."

Watch the ad below, which will run on Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach broadcast and cable TV:



Instead, the super PAC's ad specifies that Murphy "was never a licensed CPA in Florida," which is true. Murphy was licensed in Colorado; he didn't meet the educational criteria to get licensed here in his home state. Murphy has said he was eager to start his career. While Murphy worked as an auditor at Deloitte and Touche for almost three years, he had his CPA license for only the final eight months of his employment there.

The super PAC also sidesteps directly saying Murphy wasn't a small business owner by quipping "Nice try." For several months in 2010, Murphy was a vice president and at least a part-owner in Coastal Environmental Services -- a subsidiary of his father's Coastal Construction Group, one of the largest construction firms in South Florida.

The ad also mentions Murphy's exaggeration of his University of Miami degree, an attack PolitiFact rated "Mostly True." Murphy's campaign described that gaffe as an "inadvertent error" when the Herald/Times first reported the embellishment in May.

Murphy's campaign has consistently defended the two-term congressman and denounced attacks on his credentials as "discredited."

"These are recycled lies that have been repeatedly discredited by independent fact-checkers," Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement Tuesday. "The truth is, Marco Rubio abandoned Florida in the U.S. Senate while Patrick shows up and works hard for this state. It's no wonder Rubio's special interest allies can't come up with any new material."

While the inflation of Murphy's academic degree is pretty straightforward, explanations about his professional experiences are more nuanced than either Murphy's campaign or his critics are trying to portray them. 

The Senate Leadership Fund -- a super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- has been among Murphy's harshest critics this cycle.

"Patrick Murphy is basically the Milli Vanilli of politics; you can't really be sure that what comes out of his mouth is true," Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement. "The fact that Murphy achieved absolutely nothing before running for Congress is a poor excuse for his misleading Floridians with false claims of accomplishment."

The super PAC's $10.8 million ad campaign represents about a quarter of the outside spending on TV ads that is expected in Florida's U.S. Senate race before Election Day. The Senate Leadership Fund also plans to spend another $5 million on direct mail and digital ads.

*This post has been updated with comment from Murphy's campaign.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:37am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours