As Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy squared off in the final debate of their Florida Senate race, the discussion turned to the Syrian civil war. Rubio, a former presidential candidate and member of the Senate intelligence committee, challenged his rival’s understanding of the factions on the ground. Murphy, a two-term congressman, reverted to a familiar line.
“It just goes back to the same point,” he said, “that Senator Rubio continues to support Donald Trump, and it is shameful that he stands there with him.”
The audience laughed, faintly, at one of nearly 20 mentions of the Republican presidential nominee during the one-hour debate. When Murphy next mentioned Trump, Rubio was quick with a rejoinder based on a famous Joe Biden rebuke of Rudy Giuliani: “A noun, a verb and Donald Trump: that’s his answer to everything.”
The race in Florida, among the most closely watched in the country, could help determine whether Republicans keep control of the Senate.