Author: AP Published: October 1, 2016 8:19 AM EDT SHARE Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Democratic congressman with little name recognition is struggling to stop Florida’s GOP Sen. Marco Rubio from being re-elected as Republicans pour millions into adds attacking the underdog — Patrick Murphy.Lately, Rubio and outside Republican groups have outspent Murphy and Washington Democrats more than 3-to-1 with ads blasting Murphy for embellishing his resume, calling him “untrustworthy.” So far the Democratic Party arm in Washington focused on overturning GOP control of the Senate on Election Day seems hesitant to fight back for Murphy, who’s still introducing himself to voters statewide.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is cutting back a planned advertising blitz in Florida, canceling ads into early October though it says it stands behind Murphy. It could be part of a strategy to switch to states where TV advertising costs far less and Democrats have better chances in November.Murphy said he’s not worried, confident of overcoming the ad onslaught though he trails in polls and many Florida voters have barely heard of him.“The negative ads that Marco Rubio and his allies are running against me have been checked by fact checkers and have been deemed false, so not only are they negative, but Sen. Rubio and his allies are lying about me, trying to smear my record because they have to distract from his terrible record,” Murphy said at a Tampa appearance.Rubio, 45, toppled a sitting governor for the Senate seat in 2010 before running for president. But after Donald Trump soundly beat the junior senator in his home state, Rubio dropped out and also said he wouldn’t seek another Senate term. In late June he changed his mind, pressed by Republicans anxious to retain a slim Senate majority. Instantly he became the front-runner against Murphy, a 33-year-old second-term congressman who has trailed Rubio by 7 percentage points in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.Democrats need to pick up four seats for Senate control, five if Trump’s elected. For Democrats, it’s been a season of high hopes of taking the Senate seat in a presidential election year that saw some Republicans distancing themselves from Trump. Then entered Rubio.Republicans for Rubio are hitting Murphy for overstating claims on his resume to be a certified public accountant, small business owner and a college graduate with two degrees. Murphy was a licensed CPA in Colorado but not Florida, where he worked for an accounting firm. He was part-owner of a business established by his wealthy father, and though a double major at the University of Miami, he earned just one degree.Murphy casts Rubio as self-interested, saying he can’t even commit to serving a six-year term and wants to use the office to mount another presidential run.The question is whether that message is being heard over his opponent’s ads.Murphy has received help from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Senate Majority PAC, but those advertising buys have been dwarfed by outside Republican groups.Susan McGrath, the Pinellas County Democratic chairwoman, says Tampa Bay television has been plastered with ads attacking Murphy. So far figures show Rubio and groups backing him have poured $16 million into advertising, nearly triple the $5.6 million spent by Murphy and his supporters.“There’s a tremendous amount of money being spent against Patrick Murphy and I haven’t seen him respond in kind,” said McGrath. “The Republican Party and the super PACs are going to dig in hard for Marco Rubio. They have a huge investment — a potential candidate for president and control of the Senate.”She and other Democrats acknowledge Rubio’s advantage. But Democrats say Rubio’s flip-flop on a Senate run, combined with Murphy’s moderate politics, could yield a Democratic upset.“Voters are going to have a lot of questions for Marco Rubio — the whole instance of him telling the people of Florida that he didn’t want to be a senator,” McGrath said. “I do think Murphy is a strong candidate. He’s a moderate, and Florida is not a red state or a blue state.”Rubio expresses confidence even as many voters are still making up their minds.“The reason why someone exaggerates their achievements is because they don’t have any achievements. He’s been in Congress for four years and no one’s noticed because he hasn’t done anything,” Rubio said by phone.Tiffany Smith, a public works employee in Ft. Lauderdale, said she generally votes along Democratic lines but is still deciding which one lines up with her on key issues of student loan debt, family leave policies and equality and pay for women.Other voters see the race as more about Rubio than Murphy.Kathy Traexler, a 49-year-old engineer from Orlando, recently switched parties after 31 years as a Republican because the GOP nominated Trump. While she doesn’t know much about Murphy, she’s still voting for him.“I just know he’s not Rubio and for me, that’s enough,” Traexler said. Florida Senate: Underdog struggles against incumbent Rubio
Tennis Britain’s Andy Murray has pulled out of next month’s Australian Open because of a pelvic injury. The three-time Grand Slam champion, 32, was aiming to play in his first Grand Slam singles event since Melbourne 12 months ago, when he announced that his career might be over because of injury. He will also not play for Great Britain in next month’s inaugural ATP Cup. “Unfortunately I’ve had a setback and as a precaution need to work through that before competing,” the Scot said. “I’ve worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I’m gutted I’m not going to be able to play.” Murray has not been in action since Britain’s opening tie at the Davis Cup finals last month because of the pelvic issue. The former world number one, who underwent hip surgery 11 months ago, did not travel to Miami for his scheduled December training block. Murray has been on court over the past week, but the injury has not cleared up as quickly as the world number 125 had hoped. Murray and his team – consisting of coach Jamie Delgado, fitness coach Matt Little and physio Shane Annun – decided he should not rush back for the start of the 2020 season next month. That has ruled out a remarkable return to the Australian Open in Melbourne where, little under a year ago, Murray broke down in tears during an emotional pre-tournament news conference and admitted he thought an ongoing hip injury would force him to quit. However, he had a “life-changing” operation to resurface his hip later that month – in which a metal cap is put over the femur head – allowing him to return to the doubles court last summer. Murray made a competitive comeback in the singles in August, going on to win the Antwerp Open title two months later in just his seventh tournament back. Since that victory over fellow three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, he has only played one more singles match – a laboured three-set victory over little-known Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor at the Davis Cup finals. “After the Australian Open earlier this year, when I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to play again, I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best, and that makes this even more disappointing for me,” Murray said. Murray will not play a match until February at the earliest, with his first tournament now scheduled to be the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. Instead of going to Australia he will remain at home and continue hitting on court to build up his fitness. The Australian Open runs from 20 January to 3 February in Melbourne, while the ATP Cup begins on 3 January and takes place in three cities across Australia. Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will host matches, with teams from 24 countries competing. Murray played just one match at November’s Davis Cup finals because of the injury, and although he is now back on court, he has decided he is not in the right shape to travel to Australia. As a result, he won’t be joining the rest of the British team in Sydney for the inaugural ATP Cup, which begins on Friday. Frustrating it might be, given Murray won the European Open in Antwerp in October, but with his hip bearing up so well after surgery, pragmatism and patience are of the essence.
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