March 23 (Reuters) - Democratic Florida congressman Patrick Murphy said on Monday he would run in 2016 for the U.S. Senate seat held by Marco Rubio, a high-profile Republican who is considering a presidential bid.
In a statement announcing his candidacy for Senate, he emphasized his background in business and accused Rubio of putting his political future ahead of the state.
"For years, Senator Rubio has put the needs of Floridians behind his presidential ambitions," Murphy said. "We need a leader in the Senate whose eyes are firmly fixed on the people of Florida by working together to get things done."
I'm running for U.S. Senate! pic.twitter.com/Aqyxh2wEEU
— Patrick Murphy (@PatrickMurphyFL) March 23, 2015
A onetime Republican who switched parties after becoming disillusioned over the Iraq war, Murphy has demonstrated strength in a traditionally conservative region in southeastern Florida. He defeated incumbent Allen West, a tea party conservative, in Florida's 18th congressional district in 2012 and was re-elected last fall to a second term.
Florida is the largest U.S. swing state and is considered up for grabs in the 2016 presidential race. It could have a competitive Senate contest regardless of Rubio's decision on whether to seek the presidency or re-election for a second Senate term.
Read Murphy's entire statement on his Senate run below:
I’ve spent the last several months considering the best way I can continue to serve the people of Florida, and today, after much thought and discussion with people from across this state, I’m proud to announce that I will be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2016.
I’m a CPA and small businessman – not a career politician – who saw the dysfunction in Washington and decided to do something about it. I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 – Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better. I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now.
For years, Senator Rubio has put the needs of Floridians behind his presidential ambitions. We need a leader in the Senate whose eyes are firmly fixed on the people of Florida by working together to get things done. In the coming months, I look forward to meeting Floridians across the state to listen, earn their trust, and ask for their support.
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)