ORLANDO, FLA. (WSVN) - A Florida university is playing host to two senate candidates vying for the public’s vote come November.
At the University of Central Florida, incumbent senator Marco Rubio and U.S. Representative for Florida, Patrick Murphy, will meet for a debate at 7 p.m., Monday.
With 22 days until Election Day, Rubio is fighting to keep his seat in Washington D.C. after losing the Republican presidential nomination to Donald Trump.
To remain in the capitol, he’ll have to go through Murphy, who had choice words to say about Rubio’s continued support of Trump, which comes after several members of the GOP dropped their endorsements.
“It shows a lack of character to me,” said Murphy. “It shows a lack of integrity, and it shows a lack of a backbone to stand up for what you truly believe.”
Murphy added, “I don’t understand how he can look himself in the mirror, quite frankly, and say he’s continuing to support Donald Trump. If he can’t stand up to Donald Trump as a candidate, how is he going to stand up to him as a president?”
Rubio fired back and said this is not the choice he wanted American voters to have. “I wanted us to have a different choice, but this is the choice the voters made. This is what we have now, a race between two people, and, as a voter, I can only tell you what it is for me. Donald is someone I disagree with on many, many issues, and Hillary is someone I disagree with on virtually every issue.”
One of the biggest advantages for Rubio is his time in the national spotlight. Recent polling shows many voters do not know Murphy, who represents Florida’s 18th District.
“Patrick Murphy has done nothing,” said Rubio. “He’s been in congress for four years and Patrick Murphy cannot name a single, significant achievement for his time in Congress, and now he wants to go to the Senate and be one out of 100 instead of one out of 435? At this time in our history? With the issues we are facing in our state? We cannot afford to elect someone so unaccomplished as Patrick Murphy to the United States Senate.”
An attack ad on Rubio harps on his absence in the Senate. “Rubio wrote the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever passed,” said the ad. “Wait a second. Marco Rubio didn’t show up for that vote. Missed more votes for anyone in the U.S. Senate last year.”
“There’s so much we need to do,” said Murphy. “There are so many issues that aren’t partisan. You just gotta show up, and Rubio has proved himself incapable of even doing that.”
Rubio swiftly answered Murphy’s claims. “We have a record of achievement that I’m very proud of, but there’s more work to be done.”
In an attack ad of their own, Republicans that are in Rubio’s corner said it is not his record that needs to be checked, it’s Murphy’s. “Patrick Murphy has trouble with the truth,” said the ad. “‘I’m a certified accountant.’ Murphy has never been a licensed CPA in Florida, ‘I’m a small business guy.’ Murphy was not a small business owner.”
Murphy, a University of Miami graduate, was working as an auditor in Florida when he obtained a CPA license from Colorado. He was also part owner of an environmental cleanup company that grew from a business his father owned.
“I’m going to show up to work,” said Murphy. “You compare that to Marco Rubio, someone who doesn’t show up, someone who doesn’t want the job, and I’m going to continue to have one of the most independent voting records in the country.”
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