- Rubio: “I know Mike will win.”
- Miller touts victory in a district Hillary Clinton won by 12%
- Protesters gathered outside, protesting Miller’s support of gun rights, calling Miller an “NRA bought politician”
- Spokesman for rival Republican campaign also seen outside claiming Miller not “real conservative” and later dubbing private event “a flop.”
- Miller campaign follows Rubio endorsement and praise from Rick Scott with “A grade” from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
It was a wild scene at the Amway Center this weekend, with Rubio and Republican leaders and activists gathered inside building what combat veteran Todd Wilcox described as a “war chest” to defeat first term Democrat Stephanie Murphy, with Democrats and rival Republican campaigns gathered outside attacking Miller as either “NRA bought” or not “real conservative.”
Citing Florida’s 7th Congressional District as one of the few places in Florida where the GOP can play “offense,” the sentiment from party activists and donors huddled with Senator Marco Rubio was clear: Mike Miller is considered to be the only Republican candidate who can defeat Stephanie Murphy.
The GOP has been looking for a candidate who can beat Murphy ever since she upset John Mica. While making no reference to his primary opponents, speakers in support of Miller made it clear they believe he is the only candidate who gives the party a chance to beat Stephanie Murphy. Rubio went so far as to promise the crowd that “If you provide him with the support he needs, I know Mike will win.”
The Miller campaign distributed his baseball cards highlighting his experience pitching for the University of Florida and a “Throws Left Votes Right” slogan. The cards also point out Miller won a state house seat in an area Hillary Clinton won by 12 points, a data point the campaign used to bolster the argument for Miller’s elect-ability against Murphy.
As Miller supporters gathered inside the Amway Center, protesters assembled outside to voice their opposition to Miller’s support of the Second Amendment. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat seeking the State House seat Miller is vacating, spoke to protesters gathered and tweeted, “stand in solidarity today & everyday with our #NeverAgain students as we call out @NRA bought politicians like @MarcoRubio & @Mike_Miller_FL.”
Miller had voted against a bill to raise the minimum age to buy AR-15 assault rifles and, while receiving no contributions from the NRA, has been given an A-Rating by the group. In 2016, Miller voted in favor of open carry, a pro-second Amendment stance Democrats hope will hurt him in a swing district.
Democrats protesting Rubio and Miller were not the only group gathered outside the Amway Center. Representatives from one of Miller’s primary opponents were also seen across the street from the protesters. One rival campaign spokesman seemed concerned Democrats attacking Miller’s pro-second amendment record may garner support among Republican primary voters, speaking to media to claim Miller “is not the real conservative in this race” and later dubbed the private event “a flop.”
The Miller campaign had previously released a video of Governor Rick Scott commending his work as a Representative, citing low taxes, jobs and education. The campaign followed up with by announcing an “A grade” from the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Both Miller and Murphy face primary elections in August before their potential matchup this November.