Joe Henderson: Marco Rubio’s campaign is all over the place
Marco Rubio on the Senate floor. Image via C-Span.

Marco Rubio
Every time he talks, Rubio gets a headline, and not always a flattering one.

The polls say Marco Rubio is slightly ahead of Val Demings in his U.S. Senate re-election campaign, although the race is considered a statistical dead heat. The analytics site FiveThirtyEight still gives him an 86% chance of winning.

Well, Rubio is a Republican, and this is Florida.

Rubio’s campaign, however, is all over the place with no discernable focus except to say in an endless loop, “Demings. BAD!” It’s worth wondering if that won’t bite him on election night in a race Republicans desperately need to win.

Take recent headlines about him on Florida Politics, for instance.

Start with this:Marco Rubio declines to say whether he’ll accept election results, calls Democrats the real election deniers.”

The story says that Rubio declined to answer a question from the Washington Post if he would accept the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.

Seriously, Senator?

Rubio earned a gold star and an extra cookie for being one of just a few Republicans from Florida to certify the results on Jan. 6. He generally has voiced confidence in election integrity, especially in Florida. Why climb onto the clown car now?

Many brainwashed Republicans believe the Orange Man’s humongous lie about a stolen 2020 election, but Rubio shouldn’t validate that looniness.

The base will vote for him anyway, but he might impress swing voters by showing a little moxie against the tide of election fraud madness.

Oh, well.

We move along now to the decision by his campaign to pull two TV ads, at least one of which made Rubio look foolish.

Florida Politics was the first to report that one ad, “100%,” attacked Demings for voting for pandemic relief checks that went to inmates and undocumented workers.

OK, but now, as the late, great Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story: Rubio voted for that package too. Not only that, he co-sponsored the legislation.

Oops.

Rubio pulled the other ad, “Diego’s,” which highlighted a Panama City business that benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program he championed. But then the campaign learned that the business owner pleaded no contest to soliciting a prostitute 21 years ago.

In my opinion, you could call that an overreaction. The news only came out after he pulled the ad. He could have ignored it, and if the news came out anyway, Rubio, who loves to stress his Christian beliefs, could have said that everybody makes a mistake. He could have pointed out how the loan kept that business open, which was the important thing.

I think people would have bought that.

Pulling the ad, though, drew more attention to a mistake two decades ago than to the benefit the loan provided.

And this was his reaction to the federal lawsuit filed by attorneys representing three Venezuelan migrants that Gov. Ron DeSantis sent to Massachusetts.

“The first thing they do is get lawyers,” Rubio said on Fox.

“People came into this country illegally, violating our laws, OK, and the first thing they do is get lawyers and use our laws to sue an elected Governor, to sue a state.”

Upon landing at Martha’s Vineyard, I doubt that the migrants dialed up a law firm. Lawyers from Alianzas Americas, described as a nonprofit “network of migrant-led organizations,” filed the class-action lawsuit. You can bet they came armed with legal briefs after learning the plane had landed.

The plaintiffs likely have little clue about what actually is happening.

Rubio also sidesteps the likelihood that DeSantis used deception to get them on the plane. He said they all signed waivers before boarding. What are the odds that someone shoved a piece of paper under their noses and said, “Hey, sign this”?

Pretty good, I’d say.

For his part, Rubio would be wise to heed what Aaron Burr told Alexander Hamilton in the Tony-award winning musical.

Talk less.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


15 comments

  • PeterH

    September 21, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    Marco Rubio needs to find a job in the private sector. He’s really not a conservative and he doesn’t appeal to the MAGA crowd. He’s just a mess.

    Reply

    • Impeach Biden

      September 21, 2022 at 8:12 pm

      Come on Peter H. Where’s your “vote all Republicans out” message? That’s your real reason. It’s Val not Rubio who will be looking for employment. She will have some extra time to find her service weapon now.

      Reply

    • Tom

      September 21, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Joe, Rubio leads in 11 polls, avg. bout 4%. Dumings one, which Hispanics were under count. Real Clear Politics

      DeSantis leads in 10 straight polls, on avg. by bout 5%. Real Clear Politics

      Crist and Demings have a deep hole to pull out from.

      Wake us up when it’s over.

      Reply

      • Elliott Offen

        September 21, 2022 at 10:25 pm

        @Tom: Yeah Val is gonna send Marco back to Cuba on a reverse criminal banana boat!!!!😂 Show him what communism really is..

        Reply

  • Corpser9000

    September 21, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    I WILL CONSUME YOUR SOUL, I WILL EAT YOUR FLESH, I WILL DESECRATE YOUR CORPSE!

    Reply

    • Impeach Biden

      September 21, 2022 at 8:37 pm

      Sybil has another personality. What are we up to now? You shouldn’t be allowed to vote as you are mentally unstable.

      Reply

      • Corpser9000

        September 21, 2022 at 9:02 pm

        I WANT TO MAKE SWEET LOVE DOWN BY THE FIRE WITH YOU. THEN EAT YOUR FLESH AND CONSUME YOUR SOUL.

        Reply

      • Joe Corsin

        September 21, 2022 at 10:23 pm

        @Impeach: That’s not me this time 😂 And I’m not Paul either..

        Reply

  • ScienceBLVR

    September 21, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    I just scratch my head and ask, what happened to Marco..he showed such promise, he could have been a contender..Down the rabbit hole, I guess. Here’s hoping Val can pull a rabbit out of a hat! Paul Harvey..GOOD DAY

    Reply

  • Tom

    September 21, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    Chinese soros bot, tic toc repeat troll reply.
    Dum Dumings has no chance. Help her find her gun.

    Reply

    • Charlie Crist

      September 22, 2022 at 12:00 am

      👆Can anyone tell us what this clown is talking about?😂

      Reply

      • Tom

        September 22, 2022 at 7:08 am

        Joey corsin is a chinese bot, along with your aliases. Elliot, pastor sandell, smiff, others.

        Reply

        • Charlie Crist

          September 22, 2022 at 7:57 am

          👆Dumb as a rock… victim of negligent Florida schools.

          Reply

          • Tom

            September 22, 2022 at 8:14 am

            Chinese bot! Soros tic tic nation.

  • Brad Senatore

    September 23, 2022 at 8:58 am

    Rubio needs to go. Last ad: Dems are “making our boys into girls”. This statement in not only inflammatory, but impossible and damaging. Imagination will ruin USA, Cubans are coming through Mexico. He comes from immigrants. Val needs to highlight his inflammatory scare-tactic baseless quotes. NOW

    Reply

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