Patrick Murphy finally agrees to participate in Univision televised debate against Marco Rubio


The campaign for Florida U.S. Democratic Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy said Wednesday he has agreed to engage in a debate with rival Marco Rubio on Univision later this month.

“Patrick looks forward to making the important choice facing Florida’s Hispanic communities clear in Univision’s Spanish-language debate,” said Murphy campaign manager Josh Wolf. “Marco Rubio abandoned Florida’s Hispanic communities, ran away from his own plan for immigration reform, and continues to support Donald Trump for president. Patrick will show up and fight for Florida’s Hispanic families every day in the U.S. Senate and that difference will be on full display at the Univision debate.”

A debate in Spanish on Univision was proposed by Rubio last month, when the GOP incumbent came out of the gate after the primary election calling for six different debates between the two major party candidates for Senate. The Murphy camp came back and agreed to two of those proposed dates, and offered two of their own that the Rubio camp rejectedexpressing concerns over the partisan nature of those proposed venues.

“Twenty-seven days from the election, Patrick Murphy’s campaign is finally discovering that Florida has a Hispanic community,” Rubio campaign spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in reaction to Murphy’s statement. “We’re glad Murphy is finally accepting this debate we agreed to a month ago, so that Marco can contrast his long record of accomplishments on behalf of all Floridians with Murphy’s record of ineffectiveness and dishonesty.”

The Murphy camp responds that one of the original debates that they had proposed would have been hosted by Telemundo Tampa, the other major Spanish-language television network in the U.S.

Though a date hasn’t been announced yet, the Univision debate being proposed is set to air on the network’s affiliates in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.

Murphy and Rubio both released Spanish-language television ads earlier this week as they continue to reach out to Latino voters in Florida. Polls have shown that Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants who lives in Miami, is much better known in Florida among Hispanic voters than Murphy, the 33-year-old second-term Congressman from Jupiter.

Polls also have shown Rubio leading Murphy overall in the Senate contest, though a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday showed Murphy trailing only by two percentage points, the closest he’s come in most of those surveys.


Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


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