The polls say Marco Rubio is slightly ahead of Val Demings in his U.S. Senate re-election campaign, although the race is considered a statistical dead heat. The analytics site FiveThirtyEight still gives him an 86% chance of winning.
Well, Rubio is a Republican, and this is Florida.
Rubio’s campaign, however, is all over the place with no discernable focus except to say in an endless loop, “Demings. BAD!” It’s worth wondering if that won’t bite him on election night in a race Republicans desperately need to win.
Take recent headlines about him on Florida Politics, for instance.
Start with this: “Marco Rubio declines to say whether he’ll accept election results, calls Democrats the real election deniers.”
The story says that Rubio declined to answer a question from the Washington Post if he would accept the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.
Rubio earned a gold star and an extra cookie for being one of just a few Republicans from Florida to certify the results on Jan. 6. He generally has voiced confidence in election integrity, especially in Florida. Why climb onto the clown car now?
Many brainwashed Republicans believe the Orange Man’s humongous lie about a stolen 2020 election, but Rubio shouldn’t validate that looniness.
The base will vote for him anyway, but he might impress swing voters by showing a little moxie against the tide of election fraud madness.
We move along now to the decision by his campaign to pull two TV ads, at least one of which made Rubio look foolish.
Florida Politics was the first to report that one ad, “100%,” attacked Demings for voting for pandemic relief checks that went to inmates and undocumented workers.
OK, but now, as the late, great Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story: Rubio voted for that package too. Not only that, he co-sponsored the legislation.
Rubio pulled the other ad, “Diego’s,” which highlighted a Panama City business that benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program he championed. But then the campaign learned that the business owner pleaded no contest to soliciting a prostitute 21 years ago.
In my opinion, you could call that an overreaction. The news only came out after he pulled the ad. He could have ignored it, and if the news came out anyway, Rubio, who loves to stress his Christian beliefs, could have said that everybody makes a mistake. He could have pointed out how the loan kept that business open, which was the important thing.
I think people would have bought that.
Pulling the ad, though, drew more attention to a mistake two decades ago than to the benefit the loan provided.
And this was his reaction to the federal lawsuit filed by attorneys representing three Venezuelan migrants that Gov. Ron DeSantis sent to Massachusetts.
“The first thing they do is get lawyers,” Rubio said on Fox.
“People came into this country illegally, violating our laws, OK, and the first thing they do is get lawyers and use our laws to sue an elected Governor, to sue a state.”
Upon landing at Martha’s Vineyard, I doubt that the migrants dialed up a law firm. Lawyers from Alianzas Americas, described as a nonprofit “network of migrant-led organizations,” filed the class-action lawsuit. You can bet they came armed with legal briefs after learning the plane had landed.
The plaintiffs likely have little clue about what actually is happening.
Rubio also sidesteps the likelihood that DeSantis used deception to get them on the plane. He said they all signed waivers before boarding. What are the odds that someone shoved a piece of paper under their noses and said, “Hey, sign this”?
Pretty good, I’d say.
For his part, Rubio would be wise to heed what Aaron Burr told Alexander Hamilton in the Tony-award winning musical.