The race for the Senate: Rubio and Murphy

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida and Patrick Murphy, D-Florida, are running for Senate alongside minor party and non-party affiliated candidates. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

There are seven names on the ballot in the race for Florida’s available Senate seat. But two, Republican nominee Marco Rubio and Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy, are dominating the polls.

During his time in office, incumbent Rubio criticized President Barack Obama on issues such as U.S. action in the Middle East, Ukraine and Venezuela. He is opposed to raising the minimum wage, anti-abortion and wished to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Since running for re-election, Rubio has voiced support for fighting the Zika virus and spoken out against stricter gun laws. His opponents have built large aspects of their campaigns off the fact that Rubio had the worst voting record in the Senate from March 2015 to March 2016, missing 41 percent of his votes. 

The majority of his absentee record was acquired after he announced his bid for the presidency in April. At the time, Rubio announced he would not seek re-election if he did not acquire the Republican presidential nominee. He has since changed his mind. 

Rubio has also refused to fully embrace Donald Trump, choosing to equivocate on the matter when asked. Murphy, however, has fully supported Hillary Clinton and has gained her support as well — she endorsed him in her rally in Tampa last Wednesday. 

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have both also lent Murphy their support. Rubio has been backed by many republicans, including Gov. Jeb Bush. 

Murphy switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat following the Iraq war and has often worked with both parties to forge bipartisan agreements on issues like flood insurance and budget cuts. 

He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, creating comprehensive immigration reform and improving the Affordable Care Act. 

Both candidates support restoring the Everglades, however they differ on the technicalities. 

Rubio and Murphy participated in two debates for Rubio’s Senate seat; the other candidates did not qualify due to low poll numbers. According to Real Clear Politics, Rubio is leading Murphy 49.0 to 43.4 percent. 

Paul Stanton is running as the Libertarian candidate for the seat while Tony Khoury, Bruce Nathan, Steven Machat and Basil Dalack are running without party affiliation.