Marco Rubio's campaign to retain his Senate seat in Florida has hit another obstacle as the Miami Herald endorsed his opponent in the race, Democrat Patrick Murphy.
The setback comes as Rubio's once significant lead in the polls has dwindled to only 2 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday showing Rubio at 49 percent and Murphy at 47 percent.
The Miami Herald, which has a long history of supporting Rubio, including for his Senate campaign in 2010, called him a disappointment and said, "Trump's candidacy is a test of character, and Sen. Rubio is failing that test.
"How can voters believe he's sincere when he says he does not share Mr. Trump's awful views on Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, women, etc., yet — at the same time — stands by his endorsement of the New York billionaire? His act is unconvincing. It reeks of political convenience rather than political conviction," the Herald added.
The paper said "he reneged on his unequivocal pledge not to run for reelection for a position he once openly disdained — but only after he lost his bid for the Republican presidential nomination," and now "has refused to issue a clear, unequivocal statement on whether he will finish out his term if he wins reelection."
Although the paper admits that Murphy "is in many ways an untested figure [who] has had little chance to show what he can do as a legislator… as a relatively new Democrat in a Republican-controlled House," it stresses that the paper is confident he will fight for the right issues.
New York magazine points out that with less than three weeks to go before Election Day, Rubio is facing the double difficulties of both possible reduced GOP turnout and an anti-Trump reaction down-ticket in an effort to retain his seat.
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