Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) easily won his reelection bid over Democratic challenger Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) on Tuesday with the race being called for the incumbent shortly after the polls closed.
Although who won Florida’s 29 electoral votes in the state’s presidential contest was still in question when the race was called, there was little doubt for Rubio.
The discourse between the two candidates was heated at times during the campaign, but Rubio was shown to be consistently ahead in the polls over Murphy immediately after announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, which came days after he bowed out of the presidential race.
In his victory speech in Miami, Rubio congratulated Murphy over a “good race.”
“Let me start by saying this is a lot better than the last time I did one of these in Miami,” Rubio said to open his address. “Let me begin by telling you a few moments ago, I got off the phone with Congressman Murphy and I congratulated him on a good race. Congressman Murphy is a young man with a bright future and i thanked him for his willingness to step forward in public service. Running for office is hard. Putting your name forward is hard. I want to begin by acknowledging what I always do. Absolutely, you should clap for Patrick. He ran a great race.”
A portion of Rubio’s victory speech was also given in Spanish. During that portion, Rubio thanked Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, Colombians and “obviously the Cubans” for their support.
Rubio went on to acknowledge there are disagreements given the diversity of the country, but argued disgreement should not result in hate. He went on to add how he sees the state of the country and the Sunshine State and what the role of the government is for both to “move forward.”
“[I] hope that I and my colleagues as we return to work in Washington D.C. can set a better example how political discourse should exist in this country,” Rubio said. “And I know people feel betrayed and you have a right to. Every major institution in our society has failed us — the media, the government, big business, Wall Street, academia — they have all failed us. So people are so frustrated and angry. But we must channel that anger and frustration into something positive. Let it move us forward as energy to confront and solve our challenges and our problems. America has never had an easy era. Florida has never had an easy era. Our state has always confronted great long and so too has our people. And yet in each generation Americans have stepped forward to confront their challenges and embrace their opportunities. And now the time has come for us to do the same.”
“I believe with all my heart if we do what needs to be done in the years to come that my children and yours will be the freest and most prosperous Americans who have ever lived,” he continued. “But we must start now. For while we have time to get this right, we do not have forever. I will close by saying I have belief that the decisions we make in government are important. I know in the end America will not be saved by politicians. I hope that we as a nation will return to our roots as a people and as a nation, respecting our diversity but understanding that ultimately what unites us people iscommon dream and common hope of a better life. And that we can only achieve that if we all achieve that and I hope God gives me the opportunity and voice to move forward.”
At the end, he urged Americans to say a prayer for the country, “irrespective”of the outcome of the presidential race.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor