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Patrick Murphy Hugs DREAMers While Rubio Hugs Trump

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In Homestretch, FL Senate Democratic Candidate Leans in on Immigration in Appeal to Latinos

Narrowly trailing incumbent Senator Marco Rubio in Florida’s Senate race, Democratic candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy is leaning into the issue of immigration. In a series of recent ads and events, Rep. Murphy is trying to better define himself to the Latino and immigrant communities and educate voters that Marco Rubio has turned his back on immigrants.

In particular, Rep. Murphy has been highlighting the importance of protecting DACA for DREAMers in Florida, recently hosting a DREAMer roundtable in Orlando and launching new Spanish language ads that highlight Senator Rubio’s support of Donald Trump and Trump’s plans to “deport 800,000 children, destroying families,” as Murphy wrote in an English language tweet about the ad. The campaign’s focus on immigration joins recent efforts led by DREAMers themselves, such as the new America’s Voice Spanish language radio ads in Florida, narrated by Florida DREAMer and America’s Voice staffer Juan Escalante, encouraging members of the Latino community to get out and vote to protect DACA.

Rep. Murphy’s homestretch decision to lean into immigration is also important in light of the findings of Latino Decisions polling of Florida Latino voters, released in early September and commissioned by America’s Voice, which found that 63% of Florida Latino voters did not know Patrick Murphy’s position on immigration reform with a path to citizenship and executive actions, and 47% did not know Marco Rubio’s stance on the issue.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio yesterday reiterated his support and endorsement for Donald Trump – a man who Rubio once said was “dangerous,” noting that we cannot hand “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.”

Not only is Rubio standing by Trump (literally, as an image in Murphy’s new Spanish language ad shows), but Rubio also shares Trump’s vision for immediately ending the DACA program for DREAMers. During his failed presidential run, Senator Rubio pledged to end DACA on his “first day in office” (in addition to turning his back on support for comprehensive immigration reform and an achievable pathway to citizenship).

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Patrick Murphy understands the importance of leaning into the Latino vote. He knows that immigration is not only a defining issue to many in Florida’s electorate, but also an issue that presents a core distinction between the candidates and points to broader questions of character, principles and consistency. Marco Rubio is truly Senator Straddle: he is desperately and cynically trying to have it both ways as he continues to hug tight Donald Trump and all he stands for, while pretending he is a champion of Latinos. Sorry Marco: if you want to portray yourself as a champion of the Latino community and immigrants, it’s impossible to simultaneously support the most nativist, racist and anti-immigrant candidate in modern U.S. political history.”