TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The post-primary television ad wars are beginning in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, touching on themes voters can expect to hear often before November’s election: Republican Sen. Marco Rubio not showing up to work and Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy embellishing his resume.
Murphy’s campaign, a conservative group targeting Hispanics known as The Libre Initiative, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee released ads Wednesday costing more than $600,000 each in a race that’s being closely watched nationally as the major parties battle for control of the U.S. Senate.
The Murphy campaign is spending more than $1 million on its ad, which uses a play on Rubio’s name and a children’s swimming pool game to highlight what it calls the worst attendance record for a Florida senator in nearly 50 years. As one boy yells “Marco” a second boy stops replying “Polo” and sneaks out of the pool, leaving the first boy yelling “Marco” to no answer.
“It’s not a game when our Senator doesn’t show up,” Murphy says. “Solving problems means showing up, showing independence and working together.”
The ad is intended to highlight the votes Rubio skipped while running for president, a criticism Murphy has been repeating for weeks.
The NRSC ad attacks Murphy for embellishing his resume. It shows television footage of Murphy claiming to be a certified public accountant and a small-business owner in television interviews, then news stories saying both claims are false. The visual is of a woman crossing “CPA” and “Small Business Owner” off a resume that’s written out as if it is Murphy’s.
“What’s up with this guy? Yeah, Patrick Murphy sure did pad his resume,” a woman’s voice says.
Murphy was a licensed CPA in Colorado, but he wasn’t licensed in Florida while working for an accounting firm in the state. And he was a part-owner of a business that was established with help from his wealthy father.
The LIBRE Initiative ad criticizes Murphy while praising Rubio, saying Murphy backed laws that favored his family business and political friends while Rubio voted for lower taxes and smarter spending.