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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Republicans launch mail campaign against Patrick Murphy

12

September

The Republican Party of Florida and Americans for Prosperity -- a conservative political group funded by the Koch brothers -- have both sent out mailers in recent days urging Florida voters to oppose Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy in the November election.

In its mail piece, RPOF highlights the abortion positions for both Murphy and Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio. The mailer accuses Murphy of having an "extreme" record, while Rubio is "on the right side of life."

Party spokeswoman Yohana de la Torre wouldn't comment on the cost and distribution of the party's mailer.

Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen defended Murphy's position on abortion in a written statement, noting that "Marco Rubio opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and even if a mother has contracted the Zika virus."

"Patrick knows that this decision should always be between a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor and it is Marco Rubio's extreme position that hurts Florida families," Slayen said.

Meanwhile, the AFP mailer alleges that Murphy supports an energy agenda that "threatens to make life more expensive" for Florida families.

"Patrick Murphy is more concerned with standing behind President (Barack) Obama’s job-killing, rate-hiking energy mandates than acknowledging the tough realities Florida families are facing every day trying to make ends meet," AFP's Florida director Chris Hudson said in a statement. "Murphy's ‘pay-more’ energy agenda could cost Florida thousands of energy jobs and force hardworking families to pay another $500 per year on their utilities."

In response to AFP's mailer, Slayen criticized Rubio's stance on climate change.

"Marco Rubio has been too busy doing the bidding of the Koch brothers to care," Slayen said in a statement. "Of course, the Kochs and special interests are spending big to prop up their favorite senator, who is committed to their dirty energy agenda. Unlike Patrick, who will always fight to protect our environment, Marco Rubio won’t even acknowledge that the threat of climate change exists."

The mailer is part of a nationally coordinated effort by AFP -- which is funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch -- to attack Murphy's campaign, as well as Democratic candidates in other competitive U.S. Senate races.

Disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission show AFP spent $121,500 on this anti-Murphy mailer. AFP also reported $113,000 in additional expenses so far in September against Murphy's campaign to pay for other mailers, phone banks, canvassing and staff salaries.

Both the AFP and RPOF mailers were sent to homes of Tallahassee voters who are registered as "no-party affiliation." The AFP's mailer was also received by a voter in Miami-Dade County.

Herald political writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this story.

[Last modified: Monday, September 12, 2016 12:57pm]

    

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