Obama Hits Airwaves in Florida Senate Race

WASHINGTON (CQ-Roll Call/TNS) -

President Barack Obama is beating Sen. Marco Rubio to the airwaves in the Florida Senate race.

Obama is featured in a new radio ad for Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in the race for what had been anticipated to be an open-seat contest with the Republican Rubio retiring from the Senate.

But Rubio has said he is reconsidering his political future in the aftermath of the terror attack in Orlando on June 12, and he’s considered increasingly likely to jump back into the race. The filing deadline is Friday.

“In Congress, I could always count on Patrick to have my back,” Obama said in the ad for Murphy. “He’s been there for me when I needed him,” “Patrick is a strong progressive, standing up to the tea party obstructionists who try to turn back the clock on our progress.”

The Obama radio spot is directed at Democratic primary voters, with Murphy facing off against fellow Florida Rep. Alan Grayson in an Aug. 30 contest. Murphy is favored by the Democratic establishment, a point made clear by the ad saying air time is being funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“This new ad featuring President Obama is a significant, statewide radio ad buy that will run for several weeks,” said Galia Slayen, the deputy communications director for Murphy’s campaign.

“Together, we have fought for our shared progressive values that matter most to Florida families,” Murphy said in a statement. “From reforming our criminal justice system and protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors, to raising the minimum wage for hardworking Floridians, I’m proud to stand with President Obama and will continue fighting with him for what’s right for Florida.”

Murphy was joined at a weekend news conference in South Florida by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Jim Clyburn to tout his criminal justice overhaul agenda, and both Obama and Vice President Josesph R. Biden, Jr., have made appearances in support of Murphy.