Editor’s Note: This post was written by Kyle Creech, Lexie Lill and Will Krajicek.
This particular race is one of great importance for both sides of the aisle but more so for the Republican Party. Senator Marco Rubio has represented the state of Florida in the Senate since 2011 when he won a decisive victory. This election year has proved to be a very interesting one, to say the least, and despite Rubio’s failed attempt to gain the presidential nomination for the Republican Party, it seems that he will beat challenger Patrick Murphy in the race for the Senate seat. Rubio will win 52% of the vote compared to Murphy’s 44%, with the remaining 4% or so going to Libertarian Paul Stanton.
As of right now, depending on what poll you observe, Rubio is up by a margin of eight points, give or take a few. This is one race that the Republican Party thinks it has already won. Rubio will win more than 50% of the vote because the citizens of Florida not only understand the stakes of this presidential election, but they have been with Rubio for almost 6 years and see a familiar face as something to rally around and someone they can trust.
Rubio hasn’t made light of the issues facing the country or the state of Florida, in particular. He has put a huge emphasis on combatting the Zika virus, something that Florida is more susceptible to because of the warmer environment that gives mosquitoes, the primary carrier of Zika, a comfortable home. At this time, the Senate has on the table a $2 billion bill that Rubio is co-sponsoring. Unlike other Republicans, Rubio has been a strong advocate for the bill and sees Zika as a major public health concern that warrants undivided attention. Rubio has experience in the State Senate as well as the U.S. Senate. What it comes down to is that his opponent is 33-years-old, graduated from college barely 10 years ago, and has no experience in politics, which scares voters.
This political season is especially important for Republicans like Rubio who want to maintain a majority in the Senate, which some see as one less vote for a Supreme Court nomination by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, if she wins the presidency. The justices that enter the court in the next 4-8 years will undoubtedly change the legislative agenda for this country for the next 50 years at least. The Senate, under the Constitution, must approve a Supreme Court nominee. People see that Rubio will be a vote against a liberal justice and a vote for a conservative pro-Second Amendment justice.
At this point, it’s no secret that Rubio will run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2020. GOP leadership sees Rubio as a young and promising asset to the party that would eventually make a fine nominee reflecting the party’s image. He has stood up to Republican nominee Donald Trump several times on a majority of issues and we see that his distaste for the presidential nominee appeals to not only anti-Trump Republicans, but to moderate Democrat voters as well. Rubio was born to Cuban immigrant parents who became naturalized U.S. citizens when he was just five years old. Rubio was born in Florida and has lived there most of his life, going so far as attending both undergraduate and graduate schools within the state. He is essentially the “golden boy” from Florida who can also appeal to the large Hispanic population within the state. Rubio is a surefire candidate and the Democratic Party realizes that as well.
Over the past few weeks, the amount of ads against Rubio has been steadily dropping. There has been some speculation as to why the ads have been going away, the main observation being that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) recognizes that Rubio has won and Florida is an expensive place to campaign in, but again, this is just speculation. At the end of the day, the voters find Rubio very likable and that is going to bring voters out who normally wouldn’t care about electing someone to the Senate. He has a lot going for him at this time and the race against Murphy is more or less his to lose.
The NY Times/Siena College poll, conducted from 10/25 to 10/27, has Rubio leading by a spread of +9, which is very good news for the nominee and his constituents. The Republican Party hasn’t given much thought to Rubio and the state of Florida because there are so many other crucial states they need to win in order to maintain their Senate majority, but it seems that Rubio is surpassing everyone’s expectations, as he has done in the past. Come election day, Rubio will beat Murphy and maintain his seat in the U.S. Senate.