Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

Marco Rubio, Patrick Murphy making Senate pitches in Spanish-language TV ads

Democrat Patrick Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign released its first Spanish-language TV ad on Sept. 27. It's a translated version of an ad Murphy launched the week before, targeting Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio on abortion. (Patrick Murphy's campaign)
Published Sep. 28, 2016

TALLAHASSEE — U.S. Senate candidates Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy are ramping up efforts to court Florida's Hispanic voters over the airwaves during the remaining six weeks before Election Day.

Murphy, the Democratic challenger of Irish descent, released his first TV ad in Spanish on Tuesday — even briefly speaking the language that's unfamiliar to him for the ad's tagline.

A couple hours later, Rubio, the Cuban-American Republican incumbent who's fluent in Spanish, released his third Spanish-language ad in three weeks.

Hispanic voters could prove the difference in this election cycle, which is why Murphy and Rubio are more aggressively seeking their support as Floridians begin to vote. Overseas ballots went out last weekend and elections supervisors will send mail ballots starting Tuesday.

The candidates are taking different approaches to appeal to Hispanic voters.

Murphy's first ad was a translated version of one released last week in English, which criticizes Rubio's stance on abortion and promotes Murphy's endorsement from Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, Rubio's three Spanish-language ads have each told positive stories of how the senator helped a constituent. None mention Murphy.

In what's been a competitive and nationally watched U.S. Senate race, Rubio has led Murphy consistently in statewide polling, although some surveys have had the two statistically tied.

But Murphy is struggling with Hispanic voters. Many don't know him or they prefer Rubio. A recent Univision poll of Florida Hispanics found Rubio ahead of Murphy, 46 percent to 39 percent, and leading among Spanish-speaking voters by 16 percentage points.

In an attempt to narrow the gap, Murphy — who continues to have relatively low name recognition among Florida voters in general — has made visible steps in the past week to improve his appeal to Hispanic voters.

Aside from the new ad, Murphy last week hired Miami strategist Freddy Balsera to boost his campaign's Hispanic outreach.

Murphy has also issued two press releases since Thursday in both English and Spanish — something he never did before, even when he announced in May that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had endorsed him.

Meanwhile, outside political committees are also joining the fray to influence Hispanic voters in the U.S. Senate race.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which supports Rubio, has released a couple of Spanish-language attack ads against Murphy, highlighting his resume embellishments.

And the Koch brothers' LIBRE Initiative also has used Spanish-language ads to criticize Murphy.

Among Democrats, a coalition of liberal groups on Monday debuted a Spanish-language billboard off the Palmetto Expressway, near Rubio's Senate office in Doral, to highlight his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

It depicts a Trump quote from June 2015 about undocumented immigrants from Mexico and "all over" being "killers and rapists," and juxtaposes that with a comment from Rubio this summer, in which the senator said: "We have to make sure that Donald wins this election."

Rubio's campaign spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas called the billboard "cheap theatrics of an extreme liberal group" that "will not confuse the voters who know Marco Rubio's record of service on behalf of the Hispanic community."

Contact Kristen M. Clark at kclark@miamiherald.com. Follow @ByKristenMClark.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Ross Spano serving in the Florida Legislature in 2017. The Dover Republicans 2018 campaign for Congress is now under federal investigation. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The House Ethics Committee revealed the Dover Republican is under federal investigation for possibly violating campaign finance law.
  2. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  3. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  4. Florida Senator Darryl Rouson on the floor of the Florida Senate. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    His office said he had been considering filing the bill, but a Times/Herald investigation published Wednesday prompted them to move more quickly.
  5. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., questions FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Also pictured is Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., left. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Scott is co-sponsoring a bill to overturn a 1950s Supreme Court ruling.
  6. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — was paid $761,560 annual salary as head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. MIAMI HERALD  |  [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]
    Former state Sen. Denise Grimsley, a friend of Carr’s, is stepping in as interim president and CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  7. In this 2017 photo, then-Gov. Rick Scott, left, speaks with then-Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran in Tampa. The two were instrumental in refusing to expand Medicaid in Florida. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    According to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Florida likely suffered the second-highest total of deaths in that time period — 2,776 — attributed to not expanding Medicaid,...
  8. Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivers a Veterans Day address at a campaign event, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Rochester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    State rep. Ben Diamond: Mayor Pete is ‘the type of leader that can really bring our country together’
  9. Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and U.S. Rep. Val Demings have prominent roles in the impeachment of President Donald Trump. [AP Photos]
    Pam Bondi, Matt Gaetz, Val Demings and more will factor prominently in the coming weeks. Here’s how.
  10. Career Foreign Service officer George Kent, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Kent was one of the most high-ranking career officials who had knowledge about elements of the alleged White House effort.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement