Rubio, Murphy Win Senate Showdowns in Florida Primaries

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy won the Republican and Democratic nominations for U.S. Senate in Florida Tuesday and will now face each other in November.

Rubio, who said he wouldn't seek reelection while pursuing the Republican presidential nomination, changed his mind and got back in after losing out to Donald Trump.

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His biggest competition on the GOP side was Carlos Beruff, a businessman from Miami who now lives in Manatee County. While many candidates chose to drop out of the race once Rubio announced he was back in, Beruff decided to stay in, saying he's "fed up with the status quo in Washington."

Rounding out the Republican field were Ernie Rivera, a businessman and pastor from Land O'Lakes, and Dwight Mark Anthony Young, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office detention deputy.

Looking to face the winner of the Republican nomination in the November election were five Democrats, including Murphy and Alan Grayson.

Murphy, who was born in Miami but represents Florida's 18th congressional district in Palm Beach County, narrowly defeated Republican Allen West in 2012 and was reelected in 2014. The 33-year-old has been endorsed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The outspoken Grayson, an attorney and former telecommunications company president, has represented Florida's 8th and 9th congressional districts. Grayson, 58, made headlines for describing the GOP health plan as "don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly." He called a Republic opponent "Taliban Dan" in an effort to paint him as a religious extremist for his conservative Christian beliefs and compared the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan.

Also running on the Democrat side were attorney and Navy vet Pam Keith, former car dealer and businessman Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, and Jacksonville attorney Reginald Luster.

"Floridians value common sense. They respect hard work and they are ready for a Senator who feels the same way," Murphy told supporters after the win.

Murphy plans to attack Rubio saying he's part of the problem in Washington.

"Marco Rubio is the worst of Washington because he puts himself first every time. He gave up on his job. He gave up on Florida," Murphy said.

"On issue after issue I am proud of the work we have done on behalf of the people of our great state," Rubio told supporters. "Patrick Murphy will have to justify to people why his candidacy is the right one to vote for. Now he's tried to do that in the past by talking about how successful he's been in the private sector. The problem is it isn't true."

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said there were slight delays in opening some polling places, but described no other glitches. More than 1.75 million Floridians already cast ballots by mail or at early-voting stations before polls opened Tuesday.

This year's primary turnout could top ones held in 2012 and 2014 - a sign that competitive races for Congress and the Florida Legislature could be driving up turnout this time around.

Rubio and Murphy took opposite approaches on primary day. Rubio had no public events scheduled before polls closed, while Murphy began his day at 7 a.m. at a Miami-Dade polling site, joined by Gov. Bob Graham, a former senator, and his daughter, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. Murphy also visited two other South Florida polling sites.

And for the first time in Florida history, the Libertarian party will hold a statewide primary election. Augustus Invictus and Paul Stanton are vying for the nomination.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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