Candidates Make Their Pitch For Marco Rubio's Senate Seat

Oct 16, 2015

Credit U.S. Senate / U.S. Senate

The race to succeed Florida’s U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is getting crowded, and some of those vying for Rubio’s chair are starting to make their case for the job.

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There are 13 men and women going for 1 open U.S. Senate seat. But with Gridlock in Washington, why would anyone want that job? Some people, believe they can change things:

That’s an ad for Pam Keith, a Democratic candidate and attorney who served in the U.S. Navy. She’s a long-shot candidate, but there are others, like current Congressman Alan Grayson whose bombastic style has riled both sides of the political aisle.

“In the past two years, I’ve passed more Grayson bills—more Grayson bills are now the law of the land than any other member of congress. Fifteen Grayson bills are now the law of the land. Passed by the House, passed by the Senate and signed by the President.”

In the libertarian camp, there’s Augustus Sol Invictus—the subject of a strange battle in the Libertarian party, which, no lie—involves a goat. But there are some names that have risen to the top of the heap: even though they have not filed to run yet.  

Congressman David Jolly is one. He touts himself as a true conservative.

“I’m a conservative who believes that less government, more personal freedom, less taxes, less regulations are right for the future of the country, right for the future of Florida. That stands in sharp contrast to the other side of the aisle whose current front-runner in the presidential race in New Hampshire is a registered socialist. We have very different views of policies that are right for the country," he said.

And there’s also Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, who spoke about Congress’ low approval ratings.

“A lot of Republican voters who went out in droves to support Republicans take the House and retake the Senate, they don’t feel the leadership has followed through on a lot of the promises that were made.”

Next up, Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy. Murphy, a former Republican turned-centrist Democrat, says his political awakening came in 2010.

“And I also saw 182 million gallons of oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. And I saw my friends on the other side of the aisle saying we need more offshore drilling, we need more of this. And I said, ‘you know what? Not only am I going to change party’s and become a Democrat, I’m going to do something about it.’’

Then there’s Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

“You look at DC and you look at candidates and federal officials and you hear a lot of key words," he said. "What you don’t here is , this is what I  got done. My whole career has been about what I can get done.”

Murphy, Grayson, DeSantis Lopez-Cantera and Jolly were part of the Associated Press’ Annual Legislative Planning Session at the state capitol. But there are other potential candidate’s, like North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who is keeping quiet about her future plans for now.

“My commitment is what I planned to do which is to bring the North Florida way to Washington, and that’s what I’m focused on," she maintained.

Florida’s ongoing redistricting battle is shaking up the state’s voting lines, and Graham’s district could tilt sharply to the right of the political spectrum increasing the chances she could lose her seat.

Collectively the declared candidates have raised more than $12 million  in their bids to win Marco Rubio’s Senate seat. They have until June to meet Florida requirements to appear on the November ballot.