The New York Times is weighing in on Florida’s U.S. Senate race.
The Times encouraged Floridians to support Rep. Patrick Murphy in an editorial released Saturday. The editorial backing Murphy over Sen. Marco Rubio comes just days before in-person early voting begins in more than four dozen Florida counties.
“Mr. Murphy’s positions on climate change — an issue that Mr. Rubio seems deeply ignorant about — gay rights, gun control, and comprehensive immigration reform make him by far a superior representative for Floridians,” wrote the New York Times editorial board. “Mr. Murphy has also challenged Mr. Rubio’s obstinate support for the failed embargo on Cuba, which puts him on the right side of history and, increasingly, public opinion in Florida.”
The Times noted Rubio was once seen by “Republican establishment as one of its best hopes for taking back the White House.” Instead, Murphy is in striking distance of defeating Rubio in his re-election bid.
Calling the race “the most consequential among several in Florida in which Republican incumbents find themselves in unexpectedly tough fights,” the editorial board said the plight of Florida Republicans is a result of the name on the top of the ticket — Donald Trump. However, the editors write the “changing Latino electorate” is also a significant factor in this year’s election.
The newspaper noted “many voters have become alienated by (Rubio’s) hard-line conservative positions on issues such as gay rights, reproductive rights, gun control, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and by his shifting stance on immigration reform.”
“Of course, the Trump factor is substantial, too. Mr. Rubio, who once called Mr. Trump a “con artist” wholly unfit to be president, now backs him. Many former Rubio supporters find that galling and indefensible,” according to the editorial.
“For these reasons, Florida voters should support Mr. Murphy. But defeating Mr. Rubio, who earned a reputation on Capitol Hill as a disengaged lawmaker who skipped scores of key votes and hearings, shouldn’t be the only motive.”
Read the full editorial here.